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Italian newspaper receives explosive device

The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned the apparent attempted bombing of an Italian newspaper's offices this week.

La Stampa's offices in Turin received a package containing a cloth compact disc carrier with explosive powder, cables and a detonator inside. The device did not explode when opened Tuesday, but investigators reportedly said it was capable of doing so and could have caused serious injury.

The package contained no note or information about who sent it or why. It was unclear whether the sender intended the device to explode or if the package was damaged in the post, causing the device to malfunction.

Reuters, citing a statement on La Stampa's website, said police were looking at a possible link to an Italian anarchist group that previously claimed responsibility for sending similar packages to tax offices, embassies and banks.

IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “We urge media outlets in Italy to take adequate precautions in the event that further explosive devices are sent and we call on authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of this cowardly act are brought to justice.”

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Mario Monti reportedly contacted the newspaper's management to express solidarity and to condemn the act.

According to IPI's Death Watch, no journalists have been killed in Italy since 1993. However, threats of violence against journalists remain common, particularly for those who report on organised crime in the southern part of the country.

Il Giorno journalist Francesca Santolini, who has previously reported threats against her, said in February that unidentified individuals in a van fired on her as she was driving on the Milan Fiori highway. Last December, weekly newspaper Altomilanese received a threatening letter in an envelope that also contained a nine millimetre bullet and photographs of the newspaper's editor and another man involved in the fight against organised crime.

In January, news emerged that journalist Giovanni Tizian, who in late 2011 was collaborating with the Gazzetta di Modena, was put under police protection at the time after a local wheeler-dealer was recorded telling an organised crime boss: “He shuts up or I'll shoot him in the mouth”.

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