Relatives (Le Iene): “Zaccaria’s death, a tragic fact that grieves us”

“The story revealed the perversion of a widespread mechanism, which leverages the emotional and psychic fragility of those who fall victim to it”

“Everything these days the group working on ‘Le Iene’ was shaken by a tragic fact, which saddens us deeply“. This is what the author of the Hyenas Davide Parenti writes in a letter sent to the editorial staff of Primaonline. “Two weeks ago we told a story of catfishing. Daniele, a twenty-four-year-old boy committed suicide after discovering that the one he thought was his girlfriend was Roberto Zaccaria, a 64-year-old man – it continues – After Daniele’s suicide, Roberto continued to do the same thing with four other boys. It was then that we went to ask him about his actions, pressing him. From the day following the broadcast, the service was taken up by thirty-one paper and online newspapers, two newscasts, and it depopulated on social networks”.

History it was clearly in the public interest – Davide Parenti clarifies in the long letter – because revealed the perversion of a widespread mechanism, which leverages the emotional and psychic fragility of those who fall victim to it. We told it so that it could recall any potential ‘imitator’ to the seriousness of the act and its responsibility. In doing so, the wave also fed by those who have resumed our work is mounted beyond any imaginable measure – he recalls – so much so that in the small town where Roberto lived it seems that someone made him find signs near his home”.

“On the Saturday following the service, four days after the broadcast, Roberto took his own life – he recalls – Since then we have never stopped asking ourselves what the limit is, how to balance the right to provide information on important facts and the right to privacy , even that of who is responsible for these facts. Many, after Roberto’s death, have raised criticisms of our way of speaking, they have argued that it was wrong, excessive. We welcome all of these criticisms.”

“I have led the group of ‘Le iene’ for twenty-six years and for twenty-six years I have been responsible for every single minute that goes on the air – adds Davide Parenti – and if on other cases – even very controversial ones – I sleep peacefully, on Roberto’s service I continue to question me, as well as the over one hundred people who work on the program. With our experience we could have been more capable of ‘hearing’ who we were dealing with. Those who do our job move on the fine line of freedom of reporting, a very delicate function , for this reason protected by the Constitution and governed by the law – he continues – Then there is a third element that those who communicate cannot fail to take into account, the collective sensitivity, which has fluctuated continuously in recent years “.

“Many today would like to link Roberto Zaccaria’s gesture to the fact that he was pressed by one of our correspondents, because he found his impetuous, violent way – he writes in the long letter to the editorial staff of Primaonline Parenti – Yet there is a difference between sensitivity and causality. Our editor, like others, did not like the service, and it is legitimate. What we do may not be liked, it can be improved – we are human beings. Our freedom to do so is not negotiable with the taste of an audience, however When asked if the ‘extreme journalism practiced by ‘Reservoir Dogs’ made up of street chases can go on like this’, our editor replied that ‘saying enough of a certain type of journalism would be like going back instead of going ahead, any other Mediaset news program and not (practices it), a statement we share”.

“The report on Daniele’s death had to be done better, but it had to be done – explains Davide Parenti with conviction – Just as the report on volleyball player Roberto Cazzaniga, David Rossi, Chico Forti, DJ Fabo, hyperimmune blood, the Pope’s altar boys, Marco Vannini, the gynecologist of Bari, the false signatures of the Five Star Movement, the secondary ticketing, the disaster of the Land of Fires, the 110 scams, the Brigliadori and Mereu remedies for cancer, the black bagmen, the crafty del tag, drugs in parliament, harassment in the cinema, assaults, scams, deceptions, frauds, extortions, violence and abuses suffered by the weakest of which our program is full of.At sixty-five every day still I learn that I can do better.”

“We will raise the level of our guard, we will change some ways of approaching facts and people – anticipates Parenti – Our attention to society, to politics and the need to tell about distortions and inequities will not change. We have no intention of ignoring every useful suggestion and given in good faith on how to improve our work. And above all, we have no intention of stopping working”.