Slander. Nuzzi and Belpietro sentenced to 10 months in prison
For their role with their paper in the campaign of EsseLunga against Coop. Solidarity of the Editorial Board. The comment of the FNSI and Ossigeno
On 16 March 2016, the journalists Maurizio Belpietro, editor of the daily Libero, and Gianluigi Nuzzi were sentenced to ten months and twenty days’ imprisonment for the crime of slander. The journalists would have blamed in their articles the director of general affairs of Coop Lombardia, Daniel Ferre, of spying on employees with hidden cameras and eavesdropping, while knowing his innocence. Solidarity with the journalists was expressed by their colleagues at Libero. The FNSI and Ossigeno invited to reflect on the effects that the convictions of journalists to prison terms have on press freedom.
THE COMMENT OF OSSIGENO – The prison sentences for journalists convicted of defamation must be abolished. Parliament must retrieve a historical delay by approving this reform that now everyone considers necessary so as to avoid excessive punishment for journalists who make mistakes and the resulting chilling effect on press freedom. Every time a journalist is sentenced to prison terms, even when guilty of other offenses committed in the exercise of the profession, it is always important to examine the facts also with through the eyes of professional ethics, because the accusations and responsibilities can be configured instrumentally, without taking due account of the duty of journalists to inform the public on facts that are in the public interest and the risks that this entails. Therefore, in order to be able to judge the condemnation of Gianluigi Nuzzi and Maurizio Belpietro we wait to know by the professional bodies that have the competence and the duty to establish it, if in addition to having been sentenced to imprisonment, they have waived the duties of the profession, with injury to the decorum and professional dignity and the dignity of the Order of Journalists, as stated in Article 48 of the law that has established it.