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Review on defamation and conflict of interest. Venice Commission visits Rome

A delegation in Rome for hearings with authorities and NGO to prepare an  opinion on the Italian legislation for the Council of Europe

A delegation of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe visits Rome on 21 and 22  October 2013 to meet with representatives from the Ministry of Justice,  the Parliament, the Court of Cassation, the National Association of Magistrates as well as representatives of journalists’ associations.

These meetings take place in the context of the preparation by the  Venice Commission, at the request of the Parliamentary Assembly, of an  opinion on the Italian legislation on the protection against  defamation. The commission received the request to prepare an opinion last January after the conviction to jail for Alessandro Sallusti.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe wants to know whether the Italian legislation on defamation complies with the standards of the European Convention of Human Rights,” if the Italian laws on defamation are in line with Article 10 of the Convention which defends freedom of expression”; whether changes made to the Italian legislation with the laws Gasparri (TV system) and Frattini (conflict of interest) have satisfied the request of the 2005 Venice Commisisone to comply with the standard fixed by the pan-European organization.

In the report approved by the Parliamentary Assembly at the same time the decision to instruct the Commission of Venice of this rewiew, Italy is indicated, along with Hungary and Romania, among the countries for which the Council of Europe is concerned because of political pressure on the public tv.

The Venice Commission was set up after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Has played and plays a decisive role in the advise to  the member States – and even to those outside, protagonists of the” Arab Spring” – in the revision of their constitutions. By the time this organism has also taken on the task of checking whether the national laws, in particular those governing the functioning of the judiciary, freedom ‘of the media and electoral matters, are in line with the standards of the Council of Europe.

The nations represented in the Commission are 49 plus observers. The last observer membership was that of  United States of America.

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