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What is going on in Italy – Safety Net Ossigeno – 21st – 27th March 2014

The eighth of the 48 weekly reports produced with the support of the European Union and distributed in eleven countries to promote a common understanding

Safety Net Ossigeno – Weekly Report 21st – 27th March 2014
What is going on in Italy: threatened journalists and obscured news 

Searches, frivolous complaints and lawsuit threats: these are the incidents of intimidations reported by Ossigeno per l’Informazione this week. Two news, above all, have aroused great concern. The workplace of a journalist of the newspaper Alto Adige was raided by the Guardia di Finanza, which was looking for the recording of the interview of a non-commissioned officer. And the reporter Ms Ester Castano, and the editor of the weekly Altomilanese, are being take to court by Mr Marco Scalambra, who as previously been accused for corruption, and who asked 150 thousand euros for damages because he believed to be offended by an article about him.

COMPLAINTS – There have been also other judiciary initiatives against media workers in recent days. The newspaper Oggi Latina has received a complaint for defamation by the mayor of the City of Sezze (in the province of Latina), according to whom the newspaper is conducting “a real smear campaign” against him. The reporter, Mr Giuseppe Caporale and the newspaper for which he works for (La Reppublica) were sued by Ms Lucia Zingariello, former secretary of the former councillor of the Department of Culture of the Abruzzo region Mr Luigi De Fanis, for having reported in two papers that investigations had led to the discovery of a copy of a ‘sexual’ contract signed by the PDL politician and the woman.

Besides these lawsuits that have already been filed, there are others that have been merely threatened: an entrepreneur from the Marche region announced that he will present a lawsuit against the online magazine site.it if within a week an article of 2007, and signed by the editor, Mr Angelo Venti, will not be removed from the website. The Ferrovie dello Stato (Railways) have announced their intention to sue IlJournal.it for an article by Mr Simone Ricci, who reported the contents of a research carried out by two professors at the University of Milan Bicocca on the expenditures by the public railway provider. The secretary of the section of Anzio (Rome) of La Destra party, Mr Maurizio Brugiatelli, has denied being involved in an investigation by the Public Prosecutor of Rome on a case of funeral business, denounced by Ms Rory Cappelli of the daily La Repubblica, and has announced his intention to seek compensation for damages from the journalist and the other newspapers who have taken over the news.

WEB – Two judgments by the Supreme Court have turned the spotlight on online information: on March 13th, the Supreme Court annulled the seizure of the site ilperbenista.it, which had been ordered by the Court of Udine, following an accusation of defamation. According to the Supreme Court the seizure denies freedom of expression and violates Article 21 of the Constitution. A few days before the Supreme Court had similarly upheld the action of the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano against the obscuring on the daily’s website of two articles on the former president of the Higher Council of Culture Mr Carandini. In this case, the courts have held that the freedom of the press also holds for the web, and are recommending the “utmost caution in the exercise of the preventive seizure of articles published online.”

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS – There is news relative to the criminal investigations on the blocking of the printing presses of the newspaper L’Ora della Calabria: the Prosecutor of Cosenza has issued two subpoenas against the printer Mr Umberto De Rose and lawyer Mr Andrea Gentile. The magistrates advance the hypothesis of a crime of attempted personal violence exerted in order to stop the publication of unwelcome news.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Mr Nils Muižnieks, speaking to the Italian Minister of Justice has again called upon Italy to respect the European jurisprudence on defamation, recommending more caution on the imposition of fines on journalists who, as he pointed out, must be proportionate to avoid jeopardizing the economic stability of the publishing companies.

The Manifesto of local information of journalists of the Lower Lazio region (Manifesto dell’informazione locale dei giornalisti del Basso Lazio), presented on March 22nd in Latina during the “Day of Memory and Commitment to remember the victims of the Mafia”, organized by the association Libera and Avviso Pubblico, which listed ten principles to follow for protecting the local information and the right of citizens to be informed about what happens in their territory.

Search in the newsroom for reporter of Alto Adige

The Guardia di Finanza in search of the registration of an interview by the journalist Mr Mario Bertoldi. Protest of the newsroom staff, the Order of Journalists and regional Assostampa.

On the morning of March 21st, the Financial Police of Bolzano has searched the workstation of Mario Bertoldi, a police reporter of the newspaper Alto Adige. This was announced by the newsroom of the newspaper in a statement. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Bertoldi (Alto Adige): “That’s why they searched me”

Ossigeno reveals the story of the double investigation, judicial and journalistic, which subjected the reporter to searches in the workplace. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Complaints. Accused Doctor asks 150 thousand euros to Ester Castano.

Mr Marco Scalambra, accused of corruption, says the chronicler of Altomilanese and a committee of professionals have made ​his legal position appear more serious than it actually was.

Mr Marco Scalambra, who has been accused in a case of corruption, asked 150 thousand euros of damages to the Lombard journalist Ms Ester Castano and the editor of the weekly from Magenta Altomilanese, Mr Ersilio Mattioni, for an article that calls him into question in imprecise terms: He also sued the chairman of the committee Liberiprofessionisti based in Palermo, who published an open letter on the internet with which it urged the Order of Physicians to consider disciplinary action against the accused that, on top of being a show manager and building contractor, is also a medic. (continua a leggere in italiano)

The daily Latina Oggi sued by the mayor of Sezze

Mr Andrea Campoli against the newspaper, which, he argues, is the author “ of a real smear campaign, orchestrated with defaming goals”.

The newspaper Latina Oggi has received a complaint on March 25th by the mayor of the City of Sezze (in the province of Latina), Mr Andrea Campoli. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Abruzzo. Giuseppe Caporale and La Repubblica sued

Ms Lucia Zingariello, former secretary of the department of cultlure of the region, complained of two articles relating to a sexual contract between the woman and Mr Luigi De Fanis (PDL).

The reporter Mr Giuseppe Caporale and his newspaper (La Repubblica) were sued by Ms Lucia Zingariello, former secretary of the former councillor of the Department of Culture of the Abruzzo region Mr Luigi De Fanis, for two articles that recounted the existence of a written sexual contract between the politician of the People of Freedom party (PDL) and the woman. (continua a leggere)

Complaints. Entrepreneur threatens action against Site.it

The journalist Angelo Venti, editor of the online magazine, was forced to remove the name to avoid lawsuits and claims for damages.

An entrepreneur from the Marche region has threatened to take legal action against the newsroom of Site.it, an online magazine, within a week if it had not removed a 2007 article signed by its editor, Mr Angelo Venti. (continua a leggere)

Complaints. FS does not rule out legal action against IlJournal.it

The State Railways reply to an article that quotes an economic survey of two professors from the Bicocca University, reserving the right to appeal to the Courts.

The Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) announced the possibility of suing the online magazine IlJournal.it, because of an article by Mr Simone Ricci on March 12th. (continua a leggere)

Anzio. “Dead relative” case. Politician threats complaints.

The national secretary of the right-wing La Destra party Mr Maurizio Brugiatelli denies any involvement in the investigation and announced the possibility to claim for compensation.

Mr Maurizio Brugiatelli, secretary of the right-wing La Destra party for the city of Anzio (in the province of Rome), denies being involved in the investigation by the Prosecutor of Rome on a funeral business case, and announces the opportunity to obtain compensation for what has been written on March 14th by the journalist Ms Rory Cappelli in the daily La Repubblica and other newspapers who have taken up the news of the investigation on 29 people, including politicians, managers, businessmen and employees of health care companies. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Supreme Court: pre-emptive seizure of blog is tantamount to censorship

Annulled the decision by the Court of Udine, because of a request in a case of defamation, against the website ilperbenista.it.

The seizure of a blog goes against the freedom of expression and violates Article 21 of the Constitution. These were the words of the Supreme Court of Cassation, which sets it in black and white in the judgment of 13th March, number 11895. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Supreme Court: the freedom of the press applies also to the web

The Supreme Court ruled on the appeal of the daily Il Fatto Quotidiano relative to the obscuration of two articles on the former president of the Higher Council of Culture Mr Carandini.

With sentence no. 10594/2014 on March 5th, the Supreme Court of Cassation stated that the freedom of the press also applies to the web and calls for “utmost caution in the exercise of the preventive seizure of articles published online.” (continua a leggere in italiano)

L’Ora della Calabria. Two suspected for printing press block

The hypothesis of the magistrates against Mr Andrea Gentile and Mr Umberto De Rose is attempted personal violence following the prevention of the publication of a news story on the senator’s son of the NCD party.

The prosecutor of Cosenza has issued two subpoenas against the printer of L’Ora della Calabria, Mr Umberto De Rose, and the lawyer Mr Andrea Gentile. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Defamation. Muižnieks: “Fines must be proportionate”

As the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe said to the Minister of Justice Mr Orlando, “they should not put at risk the survival of the media”.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Mr Nils Muižnieks once again draws on the issue of defamation in Italy, recommending more caution in assigning fines to journalists, for these must not put in danger the economic stability of the editorial enterprise. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Latina. Here’s the “Manifesto of local information”

Presented at the meeting “Silence in the Grave – twenty years after Ilaria Alpi: Information 2.0” during the day of remembrance for the victims of the mafia organized by Libera.

Ten principles to be followed in order to protect local information and the right of citizens to be informed about what is happening in their territory: they are listed in the Manifesto of local journalists from Lower Lazio presented on March 22nd, 2014 in Latina during the “Day of Memory and Commitment to remember the victims of the Mafia”, organized by the association Libera and Avviso Pubblico. (continua a leggere in italiano)

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