An Italian TV reporter and her cameraman were assaulted during a live broadcast whilst covering the living conditions of African migrants hoping to break into northern Europe in search of higher welfare payments.

Matrix Channel 5 journalist Francesca Parisella was showing viewers scenes at Rome’s central train terminal, where dozens of migrants were sleeping outside the station. The reporter told viewers the migrants, who have been arriving in boats to Italy this year in record numbers, had gathered cardboard and other items “to protect them from the cold of the street”.

Noting that Italian volunteers had recently visited the site to bring the migrants hot food, Parisella said the men disperse during daylight hours then return to the station to sleep, “because their hope especially is to reach Milan and other cities in the north [of Italy] and then move to northern Europe”.

Just after the reporter told viewers that she and her team “don’t want to disturb [the migrants] further”, the camera was visibly shaken and appeared to have been turned on its side, causing Parisella to alert the Matrix host Nicola Porro that her party was under attack.

Following Porro’s warning to the TV journalist to “get out of there”, Parisella could be heard running from the station before the assailants caught up with her.

According to local media, a 37-year-old man hailing from the Ivory Coast has been detained in connection with the attack. The alleged aggressor was known to police for a list of crimes including domestic violence and was ordered by the prefect of Rome last September to be deported.

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