When fake news threatens a person’s life.

When we talk about fake news, we believe that lies have no debts. The overdose of noise that invades us daily makes us tolerant to the devastating effects of disinformation. There are, however, victims along the way. People who, because of an accelerated and morbid information system with a highly sensationalist character, see their lives put at stake without consequences. This is the case of Antonio Velardo, the Italian engineer whom the international group OCCRP has accused of belonging to the ‘Ndrangheta mafia, of laundering money for several of its clans, of embezzlement, of links with the IRA and of real estate fraud. Antonio Velardo, however, has been declared innocent of all these allegations. From the lower Italian courts in the Calabria region, to the highest levels of Italian justice, as well as the prosecutors of the Swiss justice system, it has been made clear that Antonio Velardo had not committed any legal wrongdoing. All the investigations carried out, including daily wiretaps, seizure of accounts, regular inspections and investigation of any related companies, have ruled that there are no grounds to ensure Antonio Velardo’s connection to any illegal activity. The media involved, however, have turned a deaf ear to all requests for retraction, blindly pandering to their sensationalist interests without regard for the consequences of their false accusations. The frivolous volatility with which this media structure of an impatient nature treats such serious accusations demonstrates the lack of perspective that certain reporters claim. It is essential to remember, in the face of such serious assertions, that the information available on the internet is susceptible to mutilating a person’s reputation, condemning their way of life, their social relations and their working environment. After all, the information available on the Internet is freely accessible and immensely conditions the image of the person who is the subject of the information. For this reason, Antonio Velardo Truth seeks to promote the effective use of information, a conscientious investigation of the facts and a necessary acceptance of mistakes, if they are made, in the journalistic profession. A task on which not only the reputation of certain people depends, but also the balance of power in the society we live in.

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