Italian media call Markiv “killer” instead of "suspect"

Author : Olena Holubeva

Source : 112 Ukraine

It tells us a lot about standards of journalistic ethics in terms of news about Vitaly Markiv, Ukrainian and Italian citizen, detained on suspicion of the murder of Italian photo reporter Rocchelli
10:32, 6 July 2017

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"Killer of Rocckelli"

The news about detention of Vitaly Markiv, Ukrainian and Italian citizen, has caused a serious resonance in Italy. The next day after his detention, this event was among the top news of all biggest media of this country. However presentation of the news was far from the principles of journalistic ethics. Instead of the word "suspect", which is appropriate in this case, the newspapers were full of headlines such as "A murderer detained " or "Rocchelli’s killer arrested".

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But the most impressive was the evening news release on the First National State TV Channel RAI UNO, when the journalist deliberately misread Markiv's words from an interview for one of the Ukrainian channels concerning the events on Maidan, execution of the civilians in the ATO zone, creating such an image of a ruthless killer. Italian StopFake has devoted a separate article to it, parsing all the pieces of false information.

Related: Ukrainian detained in Italy on suspicion in killing Italian photographer in Donbas

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The popular newspaper La Stampa and its headline "Arrest for the murder of Andrea Rocchelli"

The main source of information about the detention and arrest was a press conference held in Pavia, the home town of Andrea Rocchelli, where, by the way, Vitaly Markiv was in custody, attended by Pavia's prosecutor Mario Venditti, Colonel Paolo Storone, the head of the special carabineri unit and parents of Andrea Rocchelli. Actually, at this press conference, Italian law enforcement officials reported that Vitaly came to Italy with his mother and sister in 2002, later his mother married an Italian, and Vitaly, when he was 18 years old, received Italian citizenship. In Italy, Markiv worked as a DJ in the province of Rimini. When Maidan began in Ukraine, he went to Kyiv and took part in it, and after the beginning of the armed confrontation in Donbas, he volunteered for the National Guard.

So, according to the Italian media, Vitaly Markiv was detained at the airport in Bologna immediately after his arrival in Italy. Together with his wife, he intended to visit his mother, who lives with her Italian husband in the town of Tolentino, in the province of Macerata.

Italy does not trust Ukrainian investigation

The Pavia Prosecutor's Office, which is investigating this case, accuses Markiv and a group of currently unknown persons of involvement in the murder of Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli, his translator Andrei Mironov and injuring of French photographer William Rogelon. The charge alleges that while being on Karachun Mountain (Donbas), the suspect and other persons knowingly caused the deaths and injuries of these individuals, using a mortar. Some media wrote that, as the commander of the group, in fact, Vitaly really ordered to shoot.

Related: Trial over Ukraine’s volunteer Markiv adjourned for July 5

This accusation, like detention itself, is rather strange. After all, according to the Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Eugene Yenin, Italian law enforcers did not apply for extradition or for legal assistance to their Ukrainian counterparts either with respect to Markiv or against other Ukrainian citizens. The only explanation for the actions of the Italian side might be the uncertainty that Ukraine would go to such cooperation, after all, according to the results of the Ukrainian investigation, the journalist and translator were killed by the separatists. Determining detail in this, perhaps, was the fact that Vitali had connections with Italy, served in the National Guard (whose fighters were on Karachun), and interviews that Vitaly Markiv gave to the Italian journalists (according to journalists). That is, in other words, there was at least some chance to detain him and blame him. The accusations against Markiv personally seem almost hopeless, because it is almost impossible to prove that he personally shot the men. Probably, with this arrest, the prosecution is trying to get as much information as possible. Father of Andrea Rocchelli stated that this is only the beginning and that Markiv knows many information. And while this version of the Italian investigation has not been disproved, every member of Kulchytsky’s battalion jeopardizes to be arrested in Italy.

Rocchelli’s family and Italian law enforcers are rather skeptical about the results of the Ukrainian investigation. First of all, for longevity and for the lack of concrete results. Italian press writes that Ukrainian authorities consider the death of journalists as "side effects" of military actions and speak of the impossibility of identifying the perpetrators, confining themselves to the general accusations of the separatist party. Some newspapers even write about "sabotage" by Ukrainian investigators, comparing the death of Rocchelli with the death of another young Italian activist, Giulio Regeni in Egypt, where local authorities do not cooperate with the Italian investigation.

Related: Italian court to select measure of restriction for detained Ukrainian Markiv

Rocchelli in Italy is a victim of his profession

To better understand the interest in the arrest of Vitaly, we should remember who Andrea Rocchelli was. 31-year-old Rocchelli was an Italian photographer who worked in the hot spots of the world, making photo-reports for various media. Especially he was interested in Caucasus conflicts and in various post-Soviet countries. Actually, during one such trip he got acquainted with the Russian human rights activist and translator Andrei Mironov. Later, Rocchelli with like-minded people created his own project "Cesura."


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As his parents note, his trip to Ukraine was not supported financially either by the news agencies or the media with which he cooperated. He decided to go at his own expense. By the way, it was already Rocchelli’s second trip to Ukraine. The first took place during the Maidan, in the hottest time of power confrontation. Andrea's mother remembered how he excitedly told her about the revolution of ordinary Ukrainians against the regime of Yanukovych, calling from Kyiv. The increased interest of Italian society in this matter is due to Rocchelli’s profession and the fact that he died, performing hisprofessional duty.

Returning to the arrest of the national guard fighter, it is worth noting that from the moment of detention Markiv’s case is under the control of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. The General Consulate of Ukraine in Milan is directly concerned with this issue. But, since the fact of the arrest caused a wide public response, some Italian media quoted the reaction of Ukraine’s Prosecution General and the National Guard.

Related: Father of murdered journalist Rocchelli comments on arrest of Markiv in Italy

For three years, subject of the investigation into the death of Andrea Rocchelli has been constantly present in the programs of negotiations at all high level bilateral meetings. The issue intensified in December last year, when Rocchelli family, dissatisfied with the results of the Ukrainian investigation, appealed to lawyer Alessandre Ballerini and provoked opening of a criminal case in Italy. Actually, the arrest of Vitaly Markiv is the result of investigative actions in this criminal case.

It is clear that this topic, especially after Markiv's arrest, will aggravate relations between the two countries. The Rocchelli family, many politicians and public figures who support it, constantly demand that the government increase pressure on Ukraine to find the perpetrators of their son's death. On the other hand, the Ukrainian authorities are surprised and concerned about the arrest of their military on the territory of a friendly country - without any previous joint investigative actions and with such serious accusations. Therefore, a certain cooling in interstate relations cannot be avoided.

In addition Ukrainian diaspora made a statement to Ukrainian diplomats who actively support the arrested of Markiv in defense of the fighter. Heads of more than 20 public organizations and several hundred Ukrainians living in Italy signed an appeal, declaring support of Vitaly and his family.

Related: Ukrainian community in Italy does not believe in Markiv guilt

Berlusconi’s media support separatists of “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR)

Despite the willingness of Ukraine's investigative bodies to cooperate, more and more accusations are being made in Italy, which, from this particular "Rocchelli’s case", are transferred to all official Kyiv. Separate channels, especially from Mediaset group, which is the property of Silvio Berlusconi, regularly broadcast the airs to frank pro-Kremlin propagandists, trying to discredit Ukraine and whitewash the separatists. The last such case was yesterday's invitation to the studio of the head of the fake "DPR’s representation" in Italy, who accused Ukraine of not recognizing the inhabitants of Donbas as citizens of Ukraine. Eugen Perelygin, Ukrainian ambassador to Italy, responded to this frank provocation with the Italian-language video message.

The death of Rocchelli and the arrest of Markiv is very actively used by Kremlin propaganda and politicians - allies of Russia. Appeals are growing stronger to stop supporting Kyiv authorities and to cooperate with Moscow more actively.

Related: Ukrainian diplomats visit volunteer detained in Italy

Manipulating and using the personal grief of the Rocchelli family, strengthen anti-Ukrainian sentiments. The last article of the Italian version of StopFake is devoted to the refutation of these political insinuations against the country of Ukraine and almost all accusations against Vitaly Markiv. It has a symbolic name: "Save the soldier Markiv." Actually, this is probably the case when, saving Markiv, Ukraine saves its reputation and positive image. Therefore, it is important to make every effort to ensure that Vitali's innocence was proved by facts in court.

July 4, the first court session was held in the Pavia city court to select a preventive measure for the Ukrainian fighter.

Related: Kyiv to host support rally for Ukraine’s volunteer detained in Italy

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