Journalists backed against Vatican clampdown

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has announced its support for Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, who have been indicted by the Vatican, along with three others, for the crime of disseminating secret documents.

“By writing Avarizia [Avarice] and Via Crucis [published in English as Merchants in the Temple] Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi just exercised their right to provide information in the public interest and should not be treated as criminals in a country that supposedly respects media freedom,” according to Alexandra Geneste, head of RSF’s EU-Balkans bureau.

Mr Nuzzi cited his free speech rights to justify his refusal to be questioned by Vatican investigators after his book Merchants in the Temple contained material that had apparently been leaked in contravention on Law XI of the Vatican City State, which rules that disseminating illegally obtained documents is a crime punishable with prison sentences and heavy fines.

Following 2012’s Vatileaks scandal, the law was introduced by Pope Francis on July 13, 2013 just days before he established a commission to advise on the reform of Vatican finances. 

Two of those currently being charged, Msgr Lucio Ángel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui (pictured), are former members of the commission, with the fifth indictee, Nicola Maio, being an assistant to Msgr Balda.