Milan, Italy

By Alessandro Garofalo

“Do you know how Ahamad Massoud died?”

It’s not a quiz but a question addressed to us a few days ago by an employee from the secretary of the Public Prosecutor’s office when we asked why photographers were not allowed to bring photographic equipment into the court during the trials involving the former dancer Maroc, Karima El Mahroug, better knew as Ruby Heartstealer, in the sexgate scandal with former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, accused of inciting the prostitution of a minor and abuse of power.

For a long time here in Milan we used to wait for Berlusconi and various protagonists of his different trials outside the courthouse because a measure prohibits filming in the courtroom for safety reasons.

But as we know, there is always someone who feels smart, especially when we talk about Italy – business is business. The channel networks want the scoop to broadcast in the news and the newspapers want to publish pictures on their front page. So, disregarding the bans, some editors and colleagues started to shoot video and take pictures with mobile phones, regardless of quality.

It is normal that a trial involving a high position of government like the Italian premier would generate a lot of curiosity, especially when people involved in the case range between seventy-year-olds and minors.

But we are not tourist photographers. We are professionals – the best until proven otherwise – and we do not care to be smart. If there is an order that prohibits filming, we respect it. Despite colleagues doing so and although no employee of the courthouse has ever prevented filming with mobile phones – remember, we are in Italy.