Matrix Channel 5 journalist Francesca Parisella was doing a report on live television about a migrant neighborhood set up outside a train station, with dozens of migrants from northern Africa sleeping outside of a train station. Parisella had just finished telling the audience, “we shouldn’t disturb them anymore,” after a sympathetic spiel on the treatment of migrants, when she and her camera crew were violently attacked by the migrants.
When Parisella finishes speaking, suddenly, you can see the camera being knocked to the ground. Her camera man was attacked first. As Parisella tried to make an escape you can hear her scream, “What do you want? You’re crazy!”
From the Matrix studio a few minutes later, the presenter explained that “Francesca is upset but well. [Assailants] destroyed the camera and beat up the cameraman. A situation like our show this evening should resemble reports from a war zone. Thanks to a taxi driver, a much worse outcome was avoided.”
Shortly after, Parisella confirmed this version of events on the programme by telephone.
“We were stood at a distance to report on the type of welcome [Italy] can give [migrants], but they were disturbed and then assaulted us. They chased me and grabbed me by the jacket,” said the journalist.
Police, who are investigating the incident, said: “This type of aggression is unacceptable and casts a haunting shadow on press freedom in our country, on security conditions in Italy’s largest station, and also on the possibility of violence towards a young woman working in the centre of our capital.”
Porro said he felt “guilty” for having sent a woman out to report from the station late at night, but said the case “raises serious questions” about how somewhere in the centre of Rome was able to become a “no man’s land” where attacks are commonplace, with no fanfare nor acknowledgement from the media.
According to local media, a 37-year-old man hailing from the Ivory Coast has been detained in connection with the attack. The alleged aggressor was known to police for a list of crimes including domestic violence and was ordered by the prefect of Rome last September to be deported.