Nearly 200 journalists under Italy police protection: govt

Rome (AFP) –


Nearly 200 journalists receive some kind of police protection in Italy, the government said on Wednesday, citing an "emerging phenomenon" of rightwing threats against news organisations.

In a statement, Rome's interior ministry said there were at least 19 protection plans for journalists as well as 167 "vigilance measures", such as regular police rounds conducted in neighbourhoods where journalists live.

The figures were published to mark the inauguration of a coordination centre aimed at tackling intimidation against journalists in a country where authorities are still battling the influence of organised criminal groups.

The statement said 90 cases of intimidation against the media had been reported so far in 2017, down from 114 in the same period last year.

Nevertheless, it warned that it would be paying "special attention to the rising phenomenon of threats from neo-Nazi and neo-fascist groups as well as organised crime cells against journalists who through their work shine a light on wrongdoing".

A journalist was attacked last month by an alleged mafioso after asking questions about his links to a fascist organisation near Rome.