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Defamation. The fact does not exist. Journalist acquitted after six years

Alida Amico had been sued by a Caltanissetta city councillor who complained of the combination of his name to the Mafia

The third section of the Criminal Court of Catania on January 16, 2017, acquitted of libel for “lack of evidence” the journalist Alicia Amico, sued six years ago by the then city councillor of Caltanissetta, Giuseppe Massimiliano Firrone, for an article published on January 14, 2011 in the weekly Centonove and on the homonymous online web site.

Firrone had denounced the fact that his name was included among those with “Mafia kin” mentioned in the article “Caltanissetta in the cyclone”, dedicated to the situation of the City Council after the anti-mafia investigation “Redde Rationem”.

The judge of Catania ruled that the name of Firrone did not appear in the section on “Mafia kin”, but in another part of the article where it reported a story of bribes related to the methane pipelines in the region.

As such, also the citation for the chief editor of the outlet fell.

The lawyer Fabio Cantarella, defender of the journalist, told Ossigeno: “We are satisfied, but this is a trial that was never really allowed to start. It is right, in this case, to give credit for the good work carried out by the reporter.”

“The lawyer Cantarella says the truth. Unfortunately, the trials that, like this one – Alberto Spampinato, director of Ossigeno, commented – drag on for years before the sentence states what was obvious from the start, or refers to claims that would be possible to clarify promptly with a simple inquiry, are numerous. It is true, many of these trials could be avoided. The law should be less punitive towards journalists and should clarify that the lawsuit is not, or should not be, an enhanced form of denial, but a right not to be abused: the right to invoke the intervention of a judge following a vain attempt to clarify things with corrections and rectifications. Unfortunately, we do yet have such a law. This creates problems for journalists and unnecessarily burdens the justice machine.”


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