Roberto Saviano sees Meloni’s lawsuit as an “incredible assault on freedom”

Lucca (Italy), 1 Nov. The Italian anti-mafia writer Roberto Saviano considered today an “incredible assault on freedom of expression” the defamation trial to which the current Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, will submit him.

“It is an incredible assault on freedom of expression. The right of every intellectual is to use even fierce and strong words against power, it is an essential right,” he said during an interview with EFE at the Lucca Comic Fair (north).

Saviano, for years threatened by the mafia for books such as “Gomorra” (2006), must appear before the judge on November 15 accused of defamation by the prime minister and head of the ultras Brothers of Italy, in the Government since 22 October.

The dispute between the intellectual and the politician began when the latter, in a television program on December 7, 2020, denounced the alleged political use that the extreme right made against the phenomenon of immigration in the central Mediterranean.

“All the garbage thrown against NGOs, which they call ‘taxis of the sea’ or ‘cruise ships’, will have come to mind. I can only say: bastards. To Meloni and (Matteo) Salvini, bastards, how can you? “He said from the screen.

Saviano, who has gone to the comic book fair in this Tuscan town to present his collection “Le storie della paranza”, lamented this process against him due to “the disproportion between political and intellectual power, which is clearly alone”.

“I have harshly criticized the lies narrated by populist parties about immigration. Unfortunately, all the speculation they have made, deceiving public opinion has been successful, as their electoral result demonstrates, and the left was not able to dismantle it,” said the author. to EFE.

But not only will he face the Meloni process, but two other members of the current government will bring him to justice: the far-right Salvini, vice president and minister of Infrastructure, and the head of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano.

The writer has frequently lashed out at Salvini and his anti-immigration policy, calling him a “minister of the Mala Vita,” a term used in Italy to refer to the mafia. The first hearing of the trial is set for February 1, 2023.

While Sangiuliano claims compensation of “hundreds of thousands of euros” for claiming that during his career as a journalist, in which he became news director of the second RAI public television channel, “his only merit was serving” the right.

“This case is because I have criticized his work. I claim that I am willing to take responsibility for the words I use but in no way to suffer censorship,” he settled.

Saviano considers that in his case “the State is preventing the use of strong words or concepts” and regrets that “they are achieving it.”

“I have been sent to trial by the president of the Government of Italy. From the point of view of democracy it is extremely dangerous,” he points out, warning of the risk to freedom of expression that populism entails in his opinion. EFE



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