Italian newspaper responds to disinformation claims over Donetsk photo

La Stampa stands by its decision to print an unattributed frontpage image showing a missile strike on Donetsk while teasing Kiev and Lvov suffering.

The Italian newspaper La Stampa said on Thursday it didn’t do anything wrong when it printed a frontpage image showing the aftermath of a ballistic missile strike on Donetsk, the capital of a breakaway republic in eastern Ukraine, while promising readers coverage of Russian attacks in Kiev and Lvov.

The photo was meant to demonstrate the “clear horror of the war” and not to assign blame to any particular party, editor-in-chief Massimo Giannini said in an interview with La7 TV channel, responding to criticism of his editorial choices. He said his newspaper didn’t try to mislead readers, despite what detractors said.

“The thing that bothers me most and pains me a lot is that there are also some people here in Italy, some disgraced people of the web, who amplify this and call it a case of disinformation. Where is the disinformation?” he demanded.

The Wednesday print issue of the paper featured a full-page photo of a street littered with dead bodies, with a man covering his face in grief. “The Carnage,” the headline read. Short text teasers promised stories further in the paper about the “traumatized children in Lvov” and “Kiev preparing for the final assault” by Russian troops.

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