Media monitors urge Vatican to honour press freedom

Media monitors at the 57-country Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have condemned the Vatican’s trial of two journalists and their alleged sources, and have called on the Holy See to honour its commitments to press freedom. “Our main concern is for the protection of confidential sources,” said Gunnar Vrang, spokesman for OSCE’s Media Freedom Office, calling the protection of such sources “a pillar of investigative journalism”.

The two journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, have written about alleged financial mismanagement and corruption in the Vatican, and face up to eight years in prison for the dissemination of confidential documents and material. Three others are also on trial: Francesca Chaoqui and Msgr Lucio Vallejo Balda, who served on an economic reforms panel advising the Pope, and Msgr Balda’s assistant Nicola Maio.

The trial, which began on November 29, has been adjourned until December 7 to allow more time for Chaoqui to prepare her defence. 

The Vatican’s assistant prosecutor, Roberto Zannotti, has argued that the trial is not about press freedom, but about holding people accountable for the illegal obtaining of confidential material.