A recent case of two girls who had been adopted from Slovakia to Italy has been causing a stir between the two countries, all apparently for no particular reason, other than the tabloid hunger for sensation.
Our Deputy editor in chief, Antonio Papaleo, went to Italy earlier in January to film the real story of the two adopted girls and the situation on adoptions in Italy as part of our investigative co-operation with national broadcaster RTV. The special report will be aired tomorrow, Thursday 28 February at 21.55, as part of the program Reportéri on channel STV1.
At the center of the story are two Roma girls, Julka (14) and Joyka (15), who were cleared for adoption to an Italian family a few years ago. The media hype around the girls and their treatment in Italy was started when they communicated with their former adoptive mother in Slovakia, claiming that they were pregnant and so on. The teenage girls live with their foster parents in a small village in Sicily.
What started out as a kind of joke, however, has had serious consequences, as the Slovak tabloid media grabbed the story (Plus jeden den) and published it without verification of information. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the TV Joj reporter who was sent there was posing to everyone in the village as the biological father of the two girls so he could get close to them and gain information. Illegal and unethical not just in terms of journalism, and he is said to have narrowly escaped arrest as he left before the police arrived.
The national broadcaster RTV was already looking into the case back in December 2012 and so decided to send Mr. Papaleo while respecting all the proper channels required for a foreign journalist to operate there. With a thorough incognito investigation, while respecting the privacy of the adoptive family, it soon became clear that the two minors were living in a healthy environment, serene, under the watchful eye not only of the family, but the whole community as they had become an integral part of it.
In short, a bad joke, a big fuss, a lot of apprehension in the face of media hype. The whole affair points again to how low some media will stoop to get a sensation and have no problem interfering or manipulating with peoples’ lives to get the story. The scandal here is nothing to do with the girls, but more about some Slovak media that push ethics and personal rights into the background.
So watch the real story about the two girls and the whole affair on the programme Reporteri on STV1 at 9.55 pm tomorrow, with exclusive interviews and all the details of a story which now preoccupies and involves the competent authorities in both countries.