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Europe

World’s media divided on Amanda Knox

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2011-10-05

The British press has dubbed her “Foxy Knoxy”, and in the US they are lauding her new-found celebrity status. But in Italy there is resentment that the Amanda Knox case has revealed so many flaws in the country's justice system.

A four-year nightmare has ended for Amanda Knox as she re-starts her life in the US. But the news of her acquittal prompted differing reactions from the US, the UK and Italy.

US citizen Knox, 24, was acquitted Monday by the appeals court in Perugia, Italy, which overturned a 26-year sentence for the murder of her British flatmate Meredith Kercher.
 
Her former boyfriend and co-accused Raphaelle Sollecito also won the appeal against his 25-year sentence.
 
Prosecutors maintain that Kercher’s death was the result of a sex game with Knox and Sollecito that had gone wrong. They accuse her of being a sex-obsessed and manipulative “She-Devil” – a view ultimately rejected by the Perugia court.
 
Co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian national who was Knox's boyfriend at the time of the murder, was also freed on appeal.
For the media, the sexual element of the crime along with Knox’s photogenic good looks cooked up the perfect mix of ingredients for a good story.
 
In the US, where Knox has become a cause célèbre, television and newspapers were broadly sympathetic. In the UK, home to victim Meredith Kercher, all eyes were on “Foxy Knoxy”, as she has been dubbed by the tabloids.
 
‘Foxy Knoxy’
 
On Tuesday daytime TV presenter and former tabloid journalist Matthew Wright launched a debate on his Channel 5 show “The Wright Stuff”, opening with the line that Knox was “undeniably fit and loves wild sex”.
 
The strap line on television screens during the show read: “Foxy Knoxy: would ya?”
 
Meanwhile an undercurrent of mistrust played out, despite the acquittal, in some of Britain’s newspapers.
 
Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell wrote on Wednesday that Knox’s “Oscar-winning performance” in court “felt like … an act”, while asking: “What is it about Amanda Knox that so chills the blood?”
 
The cottage on via della Pergola in Perugia that Knox shared with victim Meredith Kercher.
“In the coming months we’ll get to see a lot more of Foxy Knoxy as she sells her story for millions and helps write the script for her Hollywood movie,” she wrote.
 
“She will no doubt portray herself as a cross between Mother Theresa and Angelina Jolie – a sexy saint. The question is, will anyone believe it?”
 
Celebrity status in the USA
 
Knox - whose family has reportedly gone into debt to pay her legal fees - is being deluged with media offers. She stands to reap huge rewards from her celebrity status and newfound freedom.
 
Paul Levinson told the New York Daily Post on Wednesday: “Most Americans believe that Amanda is innocent, so there’s no moral ambiguity. I think she will make a lot of money.”
 
There was also praise from Timothy Egan in the New York Times, who lauds the Italian legal system for recognising Knox’s innocence.
 
“For that, we have to thank an Italian legal system that essentially gives every convicted criminal a do-over – more formally, an appeal before fresh eyes. Bravo for Italy,” he said.
 
Resentment in Italy
 
This feeling is not shared in Italy, where not everyone was cheering Knox’s new-found freedom.
 
Crowds outside the Perugia court chanted “shame on you” and “killer” (VIDEO) as the judge confirmed the acquittal.
 
Massimo Nava, Paris correspondent of Italian daily Corriere Della Sera, told FRANCE 24 that many Italians were resentful of a justice system that had been exposed as both incompetent and in thrall to the media.
 
He said: “Amanda’s trial has become symbolic of the dysfunction of the Italian legal system.
 
“With the first guilty verdict, 90% of people believed Amanda and Sollecito were guilty of this horrible crime, and that the proof had been sufficient.”
 
Nava explained that the case had revealed police incompetence (much of the defence case was based on contamination of evidence by forensic officers) as well as confirming suspicions that the press holds too much sway over the legal system.
 
“Four years later, and with all the emotion this case has generated, many people have come to the conclusion that the Italian justice system doesn’t work.”
 
“And while Italian television hasn’t been carrying this story. People feel that the judge and the jury were too easily influenced by the media, and especially the American media, which has been so supportive of Amanda.”
 
A forgotten victim
 
Many in the Italian media feel that the victim Mededith Kercher has been largely forgotten in the media hype surrounding Amanda Knox.
 
Left-leaning La Republica said “the victim has been forgotten by the show”.  
 
Popular daily La Stampa added that while it is “regrettable that the killing of a young woman remains largely unresolved” the court “could not have come to any other verdict given the lack of evidence.”
 
Meredith Kercher’s family are also looking for answers – and Italian prosecutors have said they will appeal the court’s verdict.
 
It would then be up to the Italian government to demand Knox’s extradition, something Kurt Knox said the family would “fight to the end.”

 

Date created : 2011-10-05

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