Rome. Defamation. Condemned author documentary “Nazirock”
The journalist will have to pay 15 thousand euros plus expenses to the leader of the musical band “Legittima Offesa” for cuts to an interview
The journalist Claudio Lazzaro, author of the documentary “Nazirock, fascist contagion among Italians youth”, was sentenced by the Court of Rome on May 6th, 2015, to pay 15 thousand euros, plus 9 thousand eurors of expenses and other taxes, for a total of about 25 thousand euros, to Luigi Guerzoni, leader of the band “Legittima Offesa”, which in 2011 had pressed charges.
The ruling was issued by the section specialized for industrial and intellectual property to which Guerzoni addressed his complaint, believing the content of the documentary to be damaging to his reputation and damaging to his musical activities.
Claudio Lazzaro, founder of Nobu Productions Srl, and former journalist for l’Europeo and the Corriere della Sera, is convinced to have exercised the right to report and to not having damaged in any way the image of the leader of the band. “He himself damaged his image, as shown by his criminal record,” he says.
he documentary was produced in 2008 by Nobu Productions Srl and distributed by Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore Srl.
To make the video, Lazzaro requested and obtained permission to carry out the filming during the annual gathering of Forza Nuova in 2006, held in Marta, in the province of Viterbo. On that occasion he also interviewed politicians, activists and members of several bands, including that of Guerzoni.
Lazzaro has inserted in the documentary only excerpts of the interview with Guerzoni. But he also included the full version of the interview in the same dvd with which the documentary was distributed as one of the extras. Guerzoni objected to this choice of the journalist and the ruling proved him right.
“The editing of the film – as the judgment reads – had been carried out in such a way to give a negative image of the interviewee and not respectful of his beliefs”, in particular concerning the placement in the Italian political right.
“How can I have damaged the image of Guerzoni – Lazzaro details to to Ossigeno – if the same Guerzoni is the one to claim to be a ‘revisionist’ with regard to the Holocaust and wants to celebrate, with the lyrics of his song “Onore e Gloria”, the fascist deaths from the Republic of Salò? And then – he continues – he says he wants to reject any political label, but in 2008 he was a candidate in the political elections within the lists of Forza Nuova”.
The ruling states that the application is not relevant. It reads: “It does not appear relevant, in order to exclude the false representation of reality engendered by the documentary, the circumstances of the actor’s candidacy to the general elections of 2008 with the lists of Forza Nuova, from which the defendant [in this case Lazzaro] portends to show the proximity of the actor to the same fascist party”.
The judges also rebuked to the journalist that the interview was distributed “without the prior consent as required by virtue of the convened agreements”.
Lazzaro had asked the Guerzoni group for a disclaimer in order to publish the interview. But then he dispensed with it.
“I was promised to have it” the journalist says to Ossigeno, “but then it wasn’t released. I chose to publish the interview nonetheless by making use of the freedom of the press, believing it to be of public interest. I chose to edit only a summary of the interview in the documentary for film reasons, and not to distort its meaning. So much so – he added – that those who purchased the documentary could view the entire interview in the special contents. I inserted precisely to fulfill my duties of professional ethics. I have exercised the right to report but I also respected the right of the interviewed and I am surprised that this has not been recognized.”
Among those shown in the documentary, Guerzoni was not the only one to sue Lazzaro. “From 2008 to now – the journalist says – I have received four complaints: one by Roberto Fiore, national secretary of Forza Nuova, another by Casa Pound, yet another from Alberto Lomastro, a member of the Venetian right, and a fourth from “I Contea”, another band. In all four cases the judges said I was right.”
The documentary has cost Lazzaro waves of insults via email and, in 2008, twice the damage of the website that published the dates of the presentations. The site has suffered two hacker attacks.