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Italian journalist evokes Salvini suicide

By AFP - Sep 07,2019 - Last updated at Sep 07,2019

ROME — An Italian public radio journalist evoked the chances of far-right leader Matteo Salvini committing suicide, local media reported on Saturday, prompting Salvini opponents to come to his defence.

The public radio network RAI has opened an investigation into the incident and the Facebook post by Fabio Sanfilippo has since been removed.

Sanfilippo posted the comments after Salvini, leader of the far-right League, pulled his party out of a government coalition with the 5 Star Movement (M5S) in August.

“You’ve hanged yourself, you’re going to lose 20-25 per cent of your support, you know that? What are you going to do? You have no work, you do not know how to do anything, you do not have a deputy seat, you lost the minister post,” La Repubblica newspaper quoted Sanfilippo on Saturday as having said on Facebook.

“It is true you are in Parliament [Salvini is now a senator] but with the life that you are used to leading, in six months you will shoot yourself, my enemy.”

“I am sorry for your daughter but she will recover in time,” Sanfilippo was quoted as saying.

Salvini’s political rival, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), who replaced the League in a new coalition government, came out in support of him.

“These attacks against Salvini are serious and unacceptable,” said Michele Anzaldi, a PD member of the national assembly.

Matteo Renzi, former head of the left-wing Italian government, said: “A limit of decency and human respect should have been respected by this RAI journalist”, and added that someone “paid with Italian’s money should be ashamed of evoking an opponent’s suicide”.

The journalist defended himself on local media Saturday morning.

“I would write this message again but without mentioning the girl and by better specifying the reference to suicide by the leader of the League,” he was quoted by several media organisations as saying.

This reference “is not an invitation to shoot oneself but a statement that he has eliminated himself politically”, Sanfilippo said.

“The League’s media machine seized upon my words to use them for its own purpose,” the journalist added.

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