They can’t pretend they don’t know what’s going on any more, and public opinion won’t let them off the hook. I live in this permanent three-day time lapse, so I always feel like I’m late for everything. L'Ufficio Stampa della Kuwait Petroleum Italia si affretta a esprimere "totale disappunto e dissenso" per la ricostruzione dei fatti che hanno portato all'arresto dei fratelli Cosentino e soprattutto dei due dirigenti della Q8. I haven’t lived anywhere for more than a few months in all that time. If Gomorrah had been just another book read by a few thousand people, the Camorra wouldn’t have taken any notice. Before. Italian journalist and writer Roberto Saviano has been sued by the Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini on 20 June under allegations on defamation. But I’m not afraid, Journalists are risking all to expose the Italian mafia. I didn’t know the magazine’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, but I knew he was living under armed guard, like me. And somehow, they always find willing ears to hear ill of the dead. My bodyguards were there, and Rosy’s, as well as our lawyers and the defendants’ legal team. It was like being a war reporter: two or three murders a day, arson attacks – firebombing people’s homes. “Escorts are allocated after careful assessments by security forces against real threats. Wed 14 Jan 2015 06.00 GMT They did it to Don Peppe Diana, the priest who was shot dead in Casal di Principe 1994 for preaching against the mafia and threatening to refuse to give the sacraments to Camorra members. An international bestseller. But so much time has passed now I feel like I’ve earned the right to share my regrets, and admit, I miss the time I was a free man. There are new friends, new places, new routines, but there’s also a new Roberto Saviano. The carabinieri who were my bodyguards tried to help me find somewhere to rent, through their contacts. I do sometimes think about the pain, about what it would be like to die painfully. I’m constantly accused of trying to make money out of the mafia, of insulting Naples, of making stuff up. The following day the local paper denounced my intervention as an insult to the Camorra. Having their exploits told to a wider audience than the local press was a major blow because it drew public attention to their illegal affairs. At the beginning, there’s a sense that I’m an inconvenience, a burden, a problem to manage, especially when there’s a public event. Where I will stay, the places I’ll visit, the people I’ll be meeting. I’m afraid of getting close to someone and letting my guard down. Circumstances have changed him; he’s different from the person he was before, and from the friends he had then. I knew about his situation and the risks he was taking. I realised that I should have said, of course, that I’d do it all again tomorrow. At the beginning, when I told interviewers that if I had known what was coming, I would never have written the book, their faces would fall. It really is. Small rooms, all of them, some of them minuscule. The mafia boss Salvatore Cantiello, watching a feature about me on the TV news in prison, reportedly said, “Keep talking because soon you won’t be talking ever again.”. I always try to make it clear: they’re not afraid of me, they’re afraid of my readers. One for shirts and jackets. After his death he was subject to a smear campaign accusing him of lewd behaviour and links to the Camorra. In the course of the historic “maxi-trial” known as Spartacus – in which 24 members of the Casalese clan were tried for murder, extortion, corruption of public officials and rigging elections – a lawyer for two of the Camorra bosses read aloud a document that threatened me and another journalist, Rosaria Capacchione, by claiming that it was only because of our reporting that they had been arrested. I managed to watch dawn break over the most beautiful bay in the world. The media will have barely started covering my death than the nasty rumours will start. Sometimes I look back at the watershed that divides my life before and after Gomorrah. Only the two bosses were not in court, but watching proceedings on video links from prison. One with medicines, toothbrush, toothpaste and mobile phone chargers. Federico Del Prete, the trade unionist murdered at Casal di Principe in 2002, was pilloried with false accusations on the day of his funeral. As soon as a kid is killed in a fight, or a priest is stabbed while saying mass, rumours begin to buzz like flies. Naples has become off-limits to me, a place I can only visit in my memories. On May 29th, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini published a video on Facebook in which he threatened the journalist Roberto Saviano with the withdrawal of his police protection from mafia. Trudging endlessly around the suburbs until I got wind of a story, then a frantic drive across town on my Vespa to get to the crime scene first, to see the body before it was moved. More withdrawn, detached, because he’s constantly under attack. The European Federation of Journalist (EFJ) joined its affiliates in condemning the lawsuit against journalists. Whatever I want to do, I let the bodyguards know, and they decide the best way to do it. But if they say, “We’ve heard it all before,” it’s a more subtle way of undermining me. “We know all this, it’s already been written about,” that’s one of the things they say. It showed a photograph of me, with a pistol to my head, and the word “Condemned”. Doing anything spontaneous, just because I feel like it, would be ridiculously complicated. I loathe it. Perhaps Italians hadn’t forgotten, at least not those of us who write about the mafia. And every single one was dark. This is an intolerable intimidation for Saviano and all the other Italian journalists under escort.”, Building independent media to counter political interference, Turkey : organising journalists in the digital media, Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey, Transnational industrial relations in multinational companies, Advancing gender equality in media industries, Journalists’ network for media freedom in Macedonia, Building Strong Journalists Unions in Eastern Europe, are directed by an independent structure, the UCIS, said EFJ’s Italian affiliate Federatione Nazionale Della Stampa Italiana. 0271046.441 ufficiostampa.electa.milano@mondadori.it tel. Anna couldn’t have borne it.” I have been told that they had been planning to set her up. It became an instant bestseller – so many people bought it that the Camorra couldn’t ignore it. There is a before and after for everything, including friendship. It was incredible that something like that could be going on in the middle of Europe. Once I finally found somewhere to live, as soon as people figured out where I was living, which street, which number, I would have to move. A few days later, someone followed me on the street in Naples and got on the bus behind me. There’s a line from Truman Capote I often come back to: “More tears are shed for answered prayers than unanswered ones.” If I have a dream, it’s that words have the power to bring about change. The places I knew before, and the places I’ve been since. Since I wrote Gomorrah, there’s a greater understanding of the mafia, and in Italy successive governments have been shamed into investing in fighting organised crime. The media circus must keep moving. It was intensely painful to me. If it was the last question in the interview, I’d go away with a bad taste in my mouth, feeling like I hadn’t come up to scratch. More than dying, I’m afraid that my life will never get back to normal. And the wheel turns. I’m often asked if I regret writing Gomorrah. On May 29th, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini published a video on Facebook in which he threatened the journalist Roberto Saviano with the withdrawal of his police protection from mafia. I feel it’s happening already, that the people who say, “He’s lying, he’s plagiarising, he’s libelling us” will end up having more importance than my own research, my own attempts to investigate how things work. I think about the huge number of people in Italy who live like me, under state-provided armed guard: 585 of us. I live in police barracks or anonymous hotel rooms, and rarely spend more than a few nights in the same place. I pulled their stories together, the stories of my neighbourhood, and published a book called Gomorrah. I’d ride my Vespa from crime scenes to courtrooms to prisons. Responsabile comunicazione Monica Brognoli (monica.brognoli@mondadori.it). Italian journalist and writer Roberto Saviano has been sued by the Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini on 20 June under allegations on defamation. In the end you’re scarred by it. With the shooting in Paris, Europe has rediscovered that writing can be dangerous. After all these years under state protection, I almost feel guilty for still being alive. I travel around the world, leaping from country to country as though it were a checker board, doing research for my projects, searching for any tattered remains of freedom. Santonastaso has since been given 11 years for mafia association, aiding and abetting and perjury but that got barely any coverage at all. But everything else is gone: the chance of a normal life, the chance of a normal relationship. All rights reserved. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. People close to me tell me not to worry, that it’s just envy. It’s happened to everyone who has reported crimes or told uncomfortable truths. It’s the fear of being discredited. Roma Gabriella Gatto (press.electamusei@mondadori.it) tel. This is not the first time that Salvini has threatened Saviano to take away his police protection. I have visited countries – sometimes places I’ve always longed to go to – and all I see is the inside of a hotel room and the skyline of a city through the darkened glass of a bulletproof car. The journalist and author, Roberto Saviano, no stranger to death threats from Italian organized crime, tweeted a picture with Al Bija circled in red. Their worst fear is to be under the spotlight. We had forgotten. I hope this sentence may be the first step towards freedom for myself and other writers, currently living under armed guard, who may eventually be able to reclaim our lives. Nonetheless, this was the first conviction of its kind, so it was a historical moment of sorts. They did it to Giovanni Falcone, the anti-mafia magistrate killed by Cosa Nostra in 1992; they did it to the journalist Pippo Fava. It has a terrace and you can see the sea from up there. It’s easier to say the satirists brought it on themselves than to look in the mirror and confront the image of our own inertia. To me, the fact that two mafia bosses were acquitted while their lawyer was convicted for mafia-related crime seemed absurd. Days spent in the empty belly of a whale. Meanwhile, I live in these stripped back, monastic spaces, every move controlled. I got to know the workers in industries run by the Camorra. I was struck by something Charbonnier said in 2012: “I’m not afraid of reprisals. The ones I lost, who drifted away because they found it too hard to stand by me and those I’ve found – hopefully – in the last few years. The last time I was in Naples I stayed in a barracks that used to be a monastery. Uffici Stampa Milano Ilaria Maggi (ilaria.maggi@mondadori.it) tel. Usually, I try to say the right thing. As we drove away in an armoured car, they said they had been assigned to me for my protection. I remember early on in my bulletproof life, waking up one night in the barracks, it was dark and I didn’t recognise anything. After eight years under armed guard, threats against my life barely make the news. I realised the dream of every writer, the dream most of my colleagues wouldn’t dare imagine. Roberto Saviano: Edward, so there’s no way to defend your privacy? I would have loved a balcony, a terrace: I’ve longed for a terrace as I once longed for the chance to travel. I’ve got no children, I haven’t got a wife, I don’t own a car, I’ve got no debts. It’s been more than eight years since I took a train, or rode a Vespa, took a stroll or went out for a beer. The bosses got away with yet another attempt to intimidate journalists into silence, so I felt ambivalent at best. I think about people who, even though they were known targets, had no protection. I’m always expecting people to let me down. There were very few people I knew in court; when you live like I do everyone gets used to seeing you from afar, or just following your life on social media. I was following the battle for dominance between Secondigliano bosses the Di Lauro clan and a splinter group known as the Spaniards because the leader had moved the centre of their operations to Spain, where he lived in hiding. And this is unforgivable. You can hear shouts outside, you can sense people moving around, you know it’s sunny, summer has begun. In 2017, the Italian Minister of the Interior had already stated that he “assessed whether there was any risk” justifying the security measures for Saviano, “in order to see where the Italians’ money was going.”. But for others, it’s not like that. I’m afraid of many things, but dying isn’t one of them. After the event, they told me it would be too dangerous to go back to Naples on public transport, so they took me with them. Collaborating with various local and international newspapers on the issues, the journalist has also been critical towards current migration policy applied by current office of the Minister of Interior and the League party. This is what drags me down: the fear that I will be discredited somehow, that it’ll creep up on me and I won’t be able to defend myself, or my writing. And more focused on himself, because he’s become a symbol. Saviano named him “a buffon” and “minister of the underworld”. My life has been poisoned. I was so young when I wrote Gomorrah, I didn’t have time to be corrupted or tainted, to compromise my ideals. I’m more scared of living my whole life like this than of dying. The only thing I can do is focus on my work, on my audience, who – almost more than my armed escort – protect me. These hotel rooms are dark, with windows you can’t open. I wanted to tell the world what this war zone was like: the victims’ families tearing their clothes, the stink of piss from a man who knew he was going to die and couldn’t control his fear, people shot in the street because they looked like the intended victim. Soon afterwards, I was invited to give an address at a gala to inaugurate the new school year in the town of Casal di Principe, home of the most powerful Camorra clan, with one of the highest murder rates in Italy. I realised the dream of every writer – an international bestseller. That’s home. I’ll never forget what the ex-husband of murdered Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya said the day after her death: “It’s better like this: better to die than to be discredited. I told them they should leave. I was sitting in the courtroom in Naples when the verdict was delivered. Journalist Roberto Saviano has been working on investigations of organized crime and the Camorra crime syndicate in the region of Campania, publishing his investigation in a book entitled “Gomorra” (2006). Photograph: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images My life, before and after. If you pushed me, I’d say the perception of the problem has changed radically. It’s happened to everyone who has ever been killed for what they believe in. In March 2008, two years after Gomorrah was published, the mafia escalated its threats against me. In Italy, and particularly in Naples, I mostly stay in carabiniere barracks, with the smell of my roommates’ boot polish; the noisy commentary from the football game on TV, the groans when they were called back on duty or the opposing team scored; Saturday, Sunday, deadly days. Freedom of expression is not a right we are granted in perpetuity – if we neglect it, it will wither like a plant you forget to water. 0271046.250 Mara Pecci (mara.pecci@consulenti.mondadori.it) tel. I read court records, news reports, trial transcripts. I had no idea where I was. The minister’s comments amount to a death threat. Probably a worse person. It’s been more than eight years since I took a train, or rode a Vespa, took a stroll or went out for a beer. This process has been painful, I’ve found it difficult to come to terms with, until I accepted that none of us is in control of our own destiny. The EFJ affiliate in Italy, the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI), together with the  Ordine nazionale dei giornalisti, condemned the “lawsuit of the government” stating, that it causes great concern on the rhetoric regarding the protection of journalists as well as a case of aggression against the freedom of expression. But generally speaking, surprising as it may seem, I don’t think about dying all that much. There is no shade, no in between. It’s a way of turning down the volume of what I’m saying. Over that winter, the security detail was doubled after rumours emerged from prison that the Camorra was planning to kill me. I realise most people won’t believe me, but it’s actually true. I think about the huge number of people in Italy who live like me, under state-provided armed guard: 585 of us. Since then the same thing has happened many times, I wake up with a start in the night and don’t know where I am. He said: “You know that they are going to make you pay for what you did in Casale [Casal di Principe], right?”, Less than a month after that, returning to Naples from a literary festival, I was met at the railway station by two carabinieri.
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