The 31-year-old arrived on Thursday to participate in a panel discussion organized by the nonprofit Italy Innocence Project. The panel, called “Trial by Media,” is part of the Criminal Justice Festival in Modena and will take place on Saturday.
In a case that took the world by storm in the early aughts, Knox was convicted of Kercher’s murder in 2007 and spent four years in prison before her acquittal and subsequent release. She announced that she’d be going back to Italy on Twitter in May and talks about what it’s like to be media fodder in a Medium essay published on Wednesday.
“I’m about to return to Italy for the first time since I was released from prison and fled the country in a high-speed chase, paparazzi literally ramming the back of my stepdad’s rental car,” Knox writes in the essay titled “Your Content, My Life.” “I’m doing so because I’ve been invited by the Italy Innocence Project to speak about wrongful convictions and trial by media.”
The article examines her complicated interactions with the media ― mainstream, social and entertainment ― in the years since prosecutors accused her of murder. It discusses Knox’s desire for normalcy and access to the things that “every other person” has.
“Thrust into the spotlight against my will in 2007, the year of the iPhone and the takeoff of Twitter and Facebook, the most intimate details of my life — from my sexual history to my thoughts of death and suicide in prison — were taken from my private diary and leaked to the media. They became fodder for hundreds of articles, thousands of posts, and millions of hot takes,” she writes, before explaining why she still decided to have a public Instagram account in 2017.
“I just wanted to have what every other person around me had, the freedom to shout into the wind and say, ‘Here I am!’ The freedom to strike up an unexpected conversation with a friendly digital stranger. I have that now, but for me, it comes with the cost of absorbing insults and hatred and having my life fed into the content machine that seems endlessly hungry, especially now that I’m going back to Italy.”
Toward the end of the piece, Knox writes that “media can be compassionate. It can be brave.”
“It can treat its subjects like the human beings they are,” she continues. “It can acknowledge, up front, the difficulty of capturing a complex human being in 800 words. Do I really think our media can shift en masse in this direction? No, not really. But if some outlets change, even a little, that’s progress.”
Read the full Medium essay here.