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The risk of prison in the debate with reporters and students

At the National Library over 300 appearances. Closing of the three-days initiative in Italy: tomorrow’s meeting will be in Brussels. Delivered the degree awards “Ossigeno – Mario Paolo Grego”

The last day in Italy of the event organized by Ossigeno for the “World Day to end impunity for crimes against journalists”, was held on October 26, 2016 in the great hall of the Central National Library of Rome. “Defamation, when you risk jail time”: the theme of the meeting with journalists and university students, recognized by the Order as a training seminar with professional credits.

The legal vacuum in the field of protection of journalists and changes – now essential – to an inadequate bill stopped in the fourth reading in the Senate were discussed – on the basis of the introduction by Ossigeno’s director, Alberto Spampinato, who illustrated the Dossier “Shut up or I’ll sue you” – the journalist of L’Espresso Giovanni Tizian, under police protection because of threats received for his investigations on organized crime in the Emilia region; the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, coordinator of the legal one-stop-shop of Ossigeno; the Observatory Secretary on threatened journalists, Giuseppe Federico Mennella. During the conference it took place, along with other colleagues, also the journalist Conchita De Gregorio, who told for the first time in public her judicial troubles as former director with multiple charges of the daily l’Unità.

“The journalist is the bearer of a constitutional right – the lawyer Di Pietro said during his speech – And this is what distinguishes a trial against a thief from that against a reporter. The right to sue is sacrosanct, as well as the right to interpose a lawsuit – the lawyer continues – but it is necesasry to find the limits and act because today the specious prosecution goes unpunished.”

According to data published in the dossier, drawn up by Ossigeno and based on statistics provided by the Ministry of Justice, 70 percent of lawsuits for libel prove to be unfounded.”

A libel trial that lasts even six years only for a judgment in the first degree “freezes the work of journalists and feeds the abandonment of the profession – Tizian added in the comments to the data – The numbers are incredible because they demonstrate the extent to which the trials for libel represent, together with the exploitation of young colleagues, the two major threats to information. The two issues are closely linked – he concludes – We are neither heroes nor paladins, we ask only to be protected as journalists.”

The Dossier, with its unpublished and eloquent figures of the Justice-Information report, illustrated and commented with the reporters and the students present at the BNC, will be presented on October 27 by Director Spampinato at the Press Club in Brussels.

During the meeting at the Library there was also the handing of the awards of the first edition of the Degree Prize “Ossigeno – Mario Paolo Grego”, assigned to postgraduated dissertations on freedom of the press. The first prize – of the value of 1500 euro – was won by Giulia Cara for her dissertation entitled “Self-regulation and media accountability. The press councilis in Europe and in the world”; the second – 1000 euro – was awarded to Luca Covino for the work entitled: “Freedom of the press in democracies and amidst laws, jurisprudence and ethics of professional journalism”. Finally, the third – 500 euro – was won by Giulia Luciani for the dissertation: “Freedom of the press in Great Britain. A comparative analysis with Italian law”.


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