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Defamation. Supreme court discharges “Panorama” journalist

The sentence to eleven years after the publication of an article by Giacomo Amadori telling details of the life of the couple Adriano Celentano – Claudia Mori

On July 20, 2016, the Fifth Criminal Division of the Supreme Court acquitted the journalist of Panorama, Giacomo Amadori, from charges of libel against the singer Adriano Celentano and his wife, Claudia Mori. For the Supreme Court, “the offense does not exist”. The acquittal, which completely reverses the judgment given in the first degree and confirming the judgment by the Milan Court of Appeal of 20 May 2015, came eleven years after the publication of the article, in February 2005, which the two artists regarded as damaging to their reputation.

The piece, titled “Ritratto di famiglia in un inferno” (Family Portrait in Hell), reported facts concerning the personal life and that of their family of the two famous spouses. Celentano and Mori, sentenced to pay court costs, had appealed to the Supreme Court “solely for statutory purposes”, lamenting the lack of respect for the facts and the truth and for the reporter’s acquittal for the title “because of a lack of evidence about the participation of Amadori to its creation.” For the Supreme Court the responsibilities for the title and the content of the article, which is subject to the exercise of the right of criticism, remain distinct.

The Court sentence was filed on September 5, 2016. On July 12, 2016 Amadori had asked for the dismissal of the appeal presented by the singer and his wife on the basis of the reasons highlighted by the Court of Appeal.

In its judgment of 20 May 2015, the Milan Court of Appeal had in fact kept separate the responsibilities related to the content of the article compared to those for the title. For the Judge, the Article respected the truth of the facts already made public with interviews in the past to the children of the couple; the public importance, given the reputation of the characters; the countenance of the language. As for the title, assuming it is “unnecessarily offensive”, it excluded Amadori’s co-responsibility.

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