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Defamation. Sicily region president receives compensation for 45 thousand euro

The journalists of the weekly Panorama, Antonio Rossitto and Giorgio Mulè, must pay fines of 800 euro and an advance of 45 thousand euro. This was decided by the Court of Milan

On 15 July 2016 the single judge of the Court of Milan has sentenced the journalist of Panorama Antonio Rossitto and the editor of the weekly Giorgio Mulè for the crime of defamation through the press against Rosario Crocetta, the President of the Sicily Region. The punishment is a fine of 800 euro for each of the two defendants, plus an interim, comprehensive and with immediate effect, amounting to 45 thousand euro. The sentence came at the end of a trial originated by the lawsuit filed by the Sicilian governor Rosario Crocetta after the publication, in November 2012, of an article entitled “Dangerous Liaisons of the anti-mafia guy Rosario Crocetta, new governor of Sicily”.

In the text Rossitto refferred of alleged links between Crocetta and some members of the Emmanuello mafia clan of Gela and reported the statements of the collaborator Rosario Trubia, who spoke of an alleged electoral support by Cosa Nostra to the aspiring mayor.

The journalists were sentenced despite the prosecutor had asked for the absolution. At the conclusion of his indictment, in fact, the prosecutor stated: “from an overall reading of the statements and acts of the investigation the extenuating circumstance of the freedom of the press (can) be brought up, and so the fact challenged is not a crime”.

From Panorama they let know that the legal matter – for them – is not closed and that they will soon resort to appeal. “This ruling could induce a journalist, any journalist, convinced that in Italy freedom of the press is in serious danger,” they say from the direction of the newspaper, convinced of the “goodness of the work done, certified from a serious and thorough request for acquittal pronounced by the public prosecutor. ”

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