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OSCE Representative welcomes decision not to increase defamation penalty in Italy

VIENNA, 9 June 2016 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today welcomed the removal of a provision increasing prison terms for defaming elected officials and judges from a bill being considered by the Italian Senate.

“The decision not to increase the maximum prison term is a step in the right direction,” Mijatović said. “Imprisonment is a disproportionate punishment for defamation and creates a chilling effect on media freedom.”

A provision in the bill intended to protect public officials from intimidation would have increased the maximum prison penalty from six to nine years.

In May, Mijatović publicly said the Senate should seriously consider the effect increasing the penalty would have on free expression (see www.osce.org/fom/243021).

Mijatović also called on Italy and all OSCE participating States to fully decriminalize defamation.

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