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What is going on in Italy – Safety Net Ossigeno – 2nd – 8th May, 2014

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

Safety Net Ossigeno – Weekly Report 2nd – 8th May, 2014
What happened in Italy: threatened journalists and obscured news

To end up in court for what is written while exercising the freedom of the press, of speech and of expression. Being forced to defend oneself at one’s own expense in trials that last many years. Risk paying a mistake or inaccuracy with imprisonment, suspended from the profession or with unlimited damages capable of absorbing one’s entire personal assets. These are the not improbable risks faced by Italian journalists who publish the most incisive news, even by those reporters who are the most correct and thorough. Facing an increasingly frequent and unchallenged use of spurious lawsuits and unfounded damage claims, the continuous downpour of real abuses of the law that can be made ​​with ease by those who want to stop the spread of unwelcome news and opinions, who want to de-legitimize reporters who document facts of public interest, those who want to discourage the press from controlling the correctness of public behaviours. The cases reported this week by Ossigeno clearly confirm this situation. Meanwhile, in Parliament, the draft law on defamation, which should put an end to these abuses, has been waiting seven months to be approved.

DAMAGE CLAIM – In Basilicata on April, 22nd, the company Tecnoparco Valbasento sent a damage claim to the reporters Mr Piero Miolla, of La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, and Mr Roberto D’Alessandro, editor of the online magazine Pisticci.com, who had published the statements of a lieutenant of the Provincial Police of Potenza, Mr Giuseppe Di Bello, which were deemed defaming.

COMMITMENT FOR TRIAL – The journalist for fattoquotidiano.it Mr Alessandro Madron was indicted for libel by the Judge for the Preliminary Hearing of the Court of Verona, Ms Isabella Cesari. Mr Madron is being sued by Mr Roberto Bolis, a spokesman for the mayor of Verona, Mr Flavio Tosi, and chief press officer of the City. Mr Madron republished news posted on Facebook in November 2012, which stated that Mr Bolis had lived for years in an apartment in the historical centre of the city owned by the City Council, and for which he paid a favourable rent of just a few hundred euros. The news was inaccurate and the reporter recognized the error publicly. But the plaintiff has carried on with a legal action, without having asked for a correction, and without considering the spontaneous excuse already published.

LAWSUITS – There have been two rash lawsuits against journalists recorded by Ossigeno this week: the Messaggero Veneto of Udine received a lawsuit by the regional councillor of Friuli Mr Paolo Panontin, for having published news on content susceptible of judicial attention relative to e-mails sent by the politician, who has also filed a complaint for the unauthorized access to his mailbox; the mayor of San Nicola La Strada (in the province of Caserta), Mr Pasquale Delli Paoli, has given his legal representatives the mandate to sue several newspapers and local news outlets, including the Gazzetta di Caserta, Noi Caserta and Casertace, for some articles published on April, 9th relating to a meeting between the councillor and a businessman accused of corruption.

NEVER-ENDING TRIALS – The trial against the reporter of the Nuova Ferrara, Mr Daniele Predieri, and against its former editor Mr Paolo Boldrini, accused of defamation by a magistrate, began on May 6th, but was immediately postponed to December 19th. The accuser is the former prosecutor of Ferrara, Ms Mariaemanuela Guerra, who led the initial investigation into the death of Mr Federico Aldrovandi, the eighteen-years-old student killed September 25th, 2005 during a police check. The journalists criticized the prosecutor, indicating a lack of impulse in the criminal investigations, which subsequently have had a breakthrough and led to identification of the responsibility of four police agents who have been convicted in 2012 for manslaughter and abuse of the legitimate use of arms.

BITTERNESS – “This way the State is abandoning us”, says Mr Pietro Comito, one of eight journalists sentenced in Calabria for the dissemination of formally banned news, expressing his bitterness at the conviction and announcing opposition to the ruling. The eight journalists were convicted of having taken information from an order of the Judge for the Preliminary Investigation of Salerno, who notified some arrested people as part of a major judicial inquiry on the ‘Ndrangheta in which they were initially involved as suspected of the crime, including three magistrates of the judicial district of Catanzaro (who have been acquitted).

MEMORY – “Let us remember our dead, but before they get killed or they kill themselves, we must respect those journalists who are still alive”, said Mr Enzo Iacopino, president of the Order of Journalists on May 3rd in Cagliari, during the celebration of the seventh Memory Day organized by the UNCI (National Union of Italian reporters) to remember the nine journalists killed by the mafia and terrorism in Italy, the 15 killed abroad and the thousands of journalists who are victims of intimidation.

On the same day, during World Press Freedom Day, the non-profit organization Reporters Without Borders has published a list of one hundred brave journalists of various nationalities, including two Sicilian journalists threatened by the Mafia: Mr Lirio Abbate of L’Espresso, under police protection since 2007, and Mr Pino Maniaci, editor of Telejato, and the victim of beatings, attacks and numerous other threats and intimidations.

READ THIS NEWS IN FULL:

Basilicata. Tecnoparco asks compensation from journalists
The company reacts to allegations of pollution published by La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno and republished by the website Pisticci.com. Solidarity from the National Union and the Order of Journalists.
A claim for damages and a warning “to avoid taking further prejudicial actions against Tecnoparco Valbasento SpA” were delivered to the journalists Mr Piero Miolla, of La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, and Mr Roberto D’Alessandro, editor of the online magazine Pisticci.com. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Verona. To trial the reporter sued by city mayor’s spokesman
A regional adviser wrote on Facebook that Roberto Bolis was paying a favourable rent and the reporter had repblished the news on Il Fatto Quotidiano.
The journalist Mr Alexander Madron from fattoquotidiano.it was indicted for libel by the magistrate of the Court of Verona, Ms Isabella Cesari. Mr Roberto Bolis, spokesman for the mayor of Verona, Mr Flavio Tosi, and chief press officer of the City, sued Mr Madron. (continua a leggere in italiano).

Udine. Councillor’s email stole. Newspaper that reports it is sued
Anonymous letters. Il Messaggero Veneto has published a report describing contents susceptible of accounting investigations.
An anonymous parcel has been recently received by a few recipients: inside the bag, there was information on the councillor Mr Paolo Panontin and his relationship between the Region and the City Council of Azzano Decimo (in the province of Pordenone), in the dispute between the City and the firm Holzform as a result of an alert for some spills into a stream, and hundreds of e-mails of the same councillor. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Caserta. Mayor of S. Nicola La Strada announces complaints
Mr Pasquale Delli Paoli did not like that the local press recounted his meeting with Mr Angelo Grillo, a businessman accused of corruption.
The mayor of San Nicola La Strada, Mr Pasquale Delli Paoli, has given mandate to his lawyer to sue various newspapers and journals in the province of Caserta, including the Gazzetta di Caserta, Noi Caserta and Casertace, for some articles published on April, 9th. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Aldrovandi: to trial journalists accused of defaming magistrate
Mr Daniele Predieri and the former editor Mr Paolo Boldrini were sued by the magistrate who first inquired about the death of Federico Aldrovandi.
It kicked off on May 6th at the Court of Mantua the trial for defamation against the chronicler of Nuova Ferrara, Mr Daniele Predieri, and the former editor Mr Paolo Boldrini, accused by the former prosecutor Ms Mariaemanuela Guerra, the magistrate who took charge of the first investigations into the death of Federico Aldrovandi, the student who was killed in 2005 during a police check. Because of his death, four police officers have been definitively convicted. (continua a leggere in italiano).

Calabria. The journalist Comito: “The state has abandoned us”.
Bitterness for having been convicted, along with seven others, of publishing information taken from an order of arrest. “I will fight it, and say goodbye, with these principles, to judicial reporting”.
“I will oppose the sentence because it does not seem right to me. If you systematically applied this rule, the judicial reporting would be paralyzed.” (continua a leggere in italiano)

Cagliari. Families remember the journalists killed
The seventh Memory Day organized by the UNCI to commemorate the victims of the mafia and terrorism. Mr Iacopino : “We must also respect those still alive”.
“We remember the dead, but before they get killed or they kill themselves, we must respect those journalists still alive.” The national president of the Order of Journalists, Mr Enzo Iacopino, said it at the seventh Memory Day for the journalists killed by the mafia and terrorism, an event organized by the Italian association of reporters (UNCI), which took place this year on May 3rd in Cagliari. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Lirio Abbate and Pino Maniaci “Heroes of Information” for RWB
Reporters Without Borders has published a list of 100 brave reporters, including the two journalists threatened by the Sicilian Mafia.
Mr Lirio Abbate and Mr Pino Maniaci are the two Italian journalists included in the list of the “100 heroes of information” compiled by the non-profit organization Reporters Without Borders on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the international day on freedom of the press that takes place every May 3rd. (continua a leggere in italiano)

You can refer to other reports produced by the Safety Net project HERE.

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