Defamation. Nitto Palma withdraws lawsuit in exchange for 8 thousand euro
Paid by the freelance Andrea Signorelli to avoid prosecution. A money collection online to collect the sum is on-going
A mistake in an article can be very costly to a reporter if the injured person is not satisfied with a correction. Andrea Signorelli knows this well: external collaborator of the newspaper Blogo.it, he was sued for defamation by Senator Francesco Nitto Palma, President of the Senate Judiciary Commission and former Minister of Justice, who has agreed to withdraw the lawsuit after the reporter has corrected the article and paid him eight thousand euro. To put together the sum, the editor and the staff of the website launched an online crowd funding.
The case began in October 2013, when Andrea wrote an article about the voting sessions in the Lower House on the abolition of public financing of political parties. “At the time – he tells Ossigeno – there were many discussions going around. In my article I focused on some amendments, presented by the Forza Italia party, which would block the on-going processes. Among the MPs involved in the processes I named Nitto Palma. I was wrong, it was another parliamentarian that I should have mentioned.” Andrea did not notice the error and the article came out as it was.
He noticed it in January 2014 when the DIGOS summoned him to the police station to notify a lawsuit. “I saw that it came from Nitto Palma. I re-read the article, I did a check and found out that I had made a crazy mistake”, the journalist explains. At that point, recommended by the editor and colleagues, he has corrected the piece and turned to a lawyer.
“Mine was a serious blunder, I’m not fielding any excuse and I do not feel a victim for the fact that I have been challenged. What I find absurd is that I have not been asked for any correction, but I was directly set up for a criminal complaint. My mistake was a grave one, but it could’ve been solved in a moment: I checked and corrected it instantly”, Andrea comments.
Along with his lawyer, Signorelli, he contacted the legal representative of Nitto Palma in order to discuss how to resolve the issue without going to trial and avoid, or so he says, “a certain conviction, on top of reimbursement charges, and a sum too high for me”. At that point the request arrived: the lawsuit was going to be droppedif the journalist paid out eight thousand euro to the former magistrate. An important sum for the freelance.
“They told me that they applied a serious discount since I was only a collaborator. They usually ask for more”, Andrea explains.
To no avail was his availability to announce his excuses, even publicly, and the fact that the article had been corrected: the journalist had to pay in full.