Mafias. Maria Grazia Mazzola: There can be no ‘sleep’ if you are a responsible person

The preliminary hearing following the attack suffered by the Protestant journalist Maria Grazia Mazzola in February 2018, while carrying out her work, was held in Bari on January 16, 2020. A solidarity sit-in promoted, among others, by the Italian Baptists.

Foto tratta dal sito dell'Ordine dei giornalisti

Rome (NEV), 18 January 2020 – The NEV Agency met Maria Grazia Mazzola, investigative journalist of the TG1 National News Program, to comment on the developments of the case.
On January 16, the indictment of Monica Laera, belonging to the Strisciuglio clan was ordered. Laera on February 9, 2018 attacked the journalist with a punch on a public street while she was doing interviews in via Petrelli, in the Libertà district of Bari, considered the headquarters of the clan. Laera, already sentenced for mafia association, is accountable for physical aggression aggravated by mafia, exercise of the territory control, injuries and death threats. Mazzolla had two micro cameras with her that recorded everything, unequivocally. The judge a few days ago filed Laera’s complaints against Mazzola, which provided a false dynamic of the facts. The judge wrote that the journalist acted correctly by exercising the right to report in the public interest.
“The journalist who investigates the facts – sayd Maria Grazia Mazzolla to the NEV Agency -, and has a duty to ascertain them, is a witness of the reality that he/she ‘sees’, examines, and ‘touches’. And he/she doesn’t have to be a megaphone of ‘powers’. Today citizens have few guarantee instruments compared to those who manage ‘public affairs’. One of these guarantee elements is free journalism, the sieve of democracy. If there is no one to investigate the work of the powerful, the mafias, corruption, public tenders, and much more, what remains of our democracy? Therefore responsibility is central, it is an engine that triggers commitment, work, mission and vocation in the direction of ‘service’. Responsibility did not make me ‘sleep’, I went on with my head down amid a thousand difficulties – concluded Mazzolla-. There is too much corruption in European governments, where clans have an easy life: none of the Member States of the European Union has anti-mafia legislation, apart from Italy, which in this sense is the sentinel and a forerunner country. There can be no ‘sleep’ if you are responsible”.

On the eve of the preliminary hearing, many messages of solidarity reached Maria Grazia Mazzola. The Christian Evangelical Baptist Union in Italy (UCEBI) through its Evangelization Department, invited the brothers and sisters of the Association of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Puglia and Basilicata to “join the civil community, against violence and intimidation of the mafia against journalists, for free and independent information”. On January 16 at 9 there was a sit-in, with the Constitution in hand, in front of the Court of Bari in via Saverio Dioguardi 1, to support the journalist.
The sit-in was organized by the coordination of the Apulian Sardines – groups from Bari, Brindisi, Lecce, Foggia, Taranto and BAT – and gathered the adhesion of Libera, the Unione Donne Italiane, the Order of Journalists, the Roman Press Association, the Giraffa and Renata Fonte anti-violence centers of Bari and Lecce, the Salesians of Bari, the municipal administration of the Apulian capital and the mayor of Bari, the CGIL Unions, the associations of the CNCA, the animal rights activists of Tavian and others.