Twenty-one complaints against the local chronicler “Latina Oggi” by the Provincial President
The President of the Province of Latina, Armando Cusani, filed from 2006 to 2013 twenty-one lawsuits for libel against the newspaper Latina Oggi. The lawsuits involve many journalists, the incumbent director Alessandro Panigutti and his predecessor, Luigi Cardarelli, and articles concerning Cusani’s activities as head of the provincial administration.
As Graziella di Mambro, deputy director of the daily, commented to Ossigeno; “to a large extent, articles were critical of procurement procedures and transparency practices in hiring and construction tenders”.
Of the twenty-one complaints, eight have already been filed at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office of Cassino, responsible for the area. As Ms. Di Mambro explained further, “against the filings, which were asked because there were ‘doubts on the willingness of suspects to defame’, in two cases the chairman Cusani filed an opposition to the Supreme Court, which was then deemed inadmissible”. For three complaints, on the other hand, journalists have been acquitted.
As Ms. Di Mambro took on in a letter published by Articolo21, “notwithstanding the full respect of all the journalists of Latina Oggi for the actions of prosecutors and judges, the number of legal actions initiated by the President of the Province can not evade a reflection on the actual possibility of exercising the journalist profession.
If the most important and prestigious local administrative office, and for it he who represents it, field more than twenty lawsuits, there can be one of two situations: either we are faced with a focused and very large and very serious campaign of defamation against a public figure; or this public figure is trying to stop journalists and the freedom of the press and expression through a litany of complaints that probably has no equal in Italy. The sheer number of dismissals and acquittals , concludes Di Mambro , could alone provide the answer”.