The daily “La Voce delle Voci” foreclosed for defamation. Alarm raised
This follows the sentence to pay a compensation to Ms Annita Zinni (IdV). Publications are at risk. Ossigeno: disproportionate sentence, change punitive rules
The foreclosure notice was handed to the newsroom of the monthly magazine of Campania on April 10th, and it follows the civil conviction in the first degree sentenced in March of last year by the Court of Sulmona, which requires a compensation of 69 thousand euros plus interests to the current IdV party coordinator of L’Aquila, Ms Annita Zinni, because of an article written in 2008, and subsequently partially rectified, concerning her role in the formation of the son of Mr Antonio di Pietro, Cristiano. The foreclosure is likely to lead to the halt of publications, thus putting to an end the story of a combative monthly, which has been on sale since 1970, and has always been known for its countercultural investigations. With La Voce many intellectuals and prominent politicians had the opportunity to collaborate, including the current President of the Republic, Mr Giorgio Napolitano.
“The foreclosure of the magazine and of the personal property of the journalists and editors of the Voce della Campania – the director of Ossigeno per l’Informazione, Mr Alberto Spampinato, said – reveals the boundless punitive nature of the Italian legislation on libel. So much so that it is capable of causing the cessation of the publication of a newspaper and the loss of personal assets of journalists and publishers guilty of an error. Laws and court rulings that allow all of this are restrictive of the freedom of the press.”
“The sentence of Sulmona punishes the error with a compensation that appears to be too high compared to the size of the magazine and the economic capabilities of the condemned. The foreclosures that were a consequence of the judgment – Mr Spampinato added – show the lack of proportionality of the penalties and the compensations that can be meted out to journalists and editors. The failure of sanctions and compensation to be commensurate to the economic capabilities of the condemned has been reported by all European institutions as one of the most serious defects of the Italian legislation. A similar lack of proportionality would be allow to exclude forever from the football fields a player who committed a foul, along with his entire team. The judiciary must prevent the further consequences of its judgments. Parliament and the Government must correct without further delay the provisions on defamation (which still provide for prison for journalists) to prevent them from limiting the right to inform and be informed. If a journalist and his newspaper have to put at stake everything they own, as well as the ability to continue their activity, whenever you publish some controversial news, then in this country there will be no more space for news reporting.”
Ms Rita Pennarola, co-editor of the newspaper, stated: “it is an unprecedented event. I don’t know of other similar cases in case law. The seizure of property makes us feel treated like the mafia: we who fight against the mafia every day”.
The act which the newspaper is preparing to battle legally, comes just a few days away from another foreclosure notice against 18 other lending institutions, which brings to 36 the total number of banks to which the lawyers of the local politician have initiated the procedure.
The story is well known, and Ossigeno has covered it in detail in several articles in the past months.
In March 2013, with a ruling in the first degree, the civil court of Sulmona has sentenced the newspaper form Campania, which is run by the cooperative of journalists Comunica, to compensate with 69 thousand euros (but including interests and legal costs, the expense for the newspaper rises to 95 thousand euros) the current provincial coordinator of L’Aquila for the Italy of Values party.
In particular, a passage of just a few lines in an article published in 2008 by the magazine on the changing fortunes of Mr Cristiano Di Pietro, son of Antonio, according to the judgment, had harmed the reputation of Ms Zinni.
One of the first effects of the judgment, in June 2013, was the notice of foreclosure sent by Ms Zinni’s attorneys to any third party (Italian banks and the Fund for the publishing industry), – for the sum of 144 thousand euros, with the immediate result of freezing the accounts and loans to the newspaper.
Today, with a partisan action, “the seizure of the periodic publication of La Voce delle Voci, in all its denominations and editions, both national and local, including the newspaper as a distinctive sign of the work” has arrived.