Newspapers today are a precious resource for everybody, as they gather worldwide news and give citizens access to every kind of information they are looking for. They are drafted by professional journalists, who try to gain the details about an occurrence by carrying out an investigation, then they check its truthfulness and, finally, they publish a piece of news in the shortest period of time. As a consequence, the articles written for popular newspapers are always reliable: they are an eye-opener for society. Initially, newspapers were only paper-based, but now many people prefer to keep up with the latest news by doing research on the Internet instead of going to the newsagents’, as they regard online news as a faster and cheaper way to keep informed.
In Italy there are several newspapers of different types: they are local, national, online, sport-related… However, the most notorious are:
• Corriere della sera: its slogan is “the freedom of ideas”. It is considered the most balanced in Italy and is traditionally moderate and conservative.
• La Repubblica: it is the second most read Italian newspaper and its aim is to inform the readers to guarantee that they take part in the social life of their community.
• Il sole 24 ore: it is an economical Italian newspaper. Beyond current news, the themes of its articles are fashion, travel, health, and culture.
A considerable number of articles are written and published every day in these newspapers. However, an argument that has recently hit the news and has also caught my eye is the legalization of euthanasia. This term refers to the possibility of dying in a painless way, given to people who want to end their lives, especially because of a bad disease. The Italian association “Luca Coscioni”, along with other organizations and parties, promoted a referendum, in order to put in the hands of Italian citizens the decision of the legalization of euthanasia. A huge number of people, realizing its importance, signed the petition: more than 1.200.000 signatures were collected. However, apparently, this was not enough for the Italian Constitutional Court because, on the 15th of February, it rejected the referendum question. As a matter of fact, “Corriere della sera” states: “The Italian Consulta has considered inadmissible the referendum question because, after the repeal, although partial, of the norm about consentient suicide, the minimum constitutionally necessary protection of human life in general and with particular reference to weak and vulnerable people would not be preserved”.
After this piece of news started spreading, several debates drew everyone’s attention to different aspects and consequences of this firm verdict. The representatives of the Italian parties expressed their opinions and some of them were deeply disappointed. Nevertheless, the decision was delusional, especially for Marco Cappato of the association Luca Coscioni. “Il sole 24 ore” reported his words: “This is bad news for those who suffer and will have to suffer even longer. Bad news for democracy. We will continue with other means for euthanasia” and, in the end, he courageously states “We will go ahead with civil disobedience, we will appeal. Legal euthanasia versus clandestine euthanasia”.
These impressive words have a huge impact on the readers. They make us reflect on the importance this practice would have in the lives of many citizens. But how could the legalization of euthanasia have improved their situation? Ill people who stand up for this right have to put up with the painful symptoms of an illness. Staying alive is really tough and demanding for them because they need to tolerate their crucial status. Still worse, their families have to take care of them powerlessly. On the contrary, if the law had passed, a lot of patients would have ended their lives in a serene way.
The legalization of euthanasia would be a huge step forward for Italy. This is, undoubtedly, one of those topics in which it is easy to fall victim to carelessness and prejudices. However, if we really want to understand its meaning and value, we should consider the needs of people who suffer from incurable illnesses. Staying alive is real violence to them, so why do they have to tolerate this condition against their will? They ask for the freedom of making a decision about their own lives: this right should be guaranteed to everyone. The only way to contribute to their wellness would be to enable them to benefit from a right that is considered inalienable by democratic systems: freedom.