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Calabria health commissioner asks 1 million euro to reporter. Court says no

The Civil Court of Catanzaro declared it. Massimo Scura had denounced Adriano Mollo of the Quotidiano del Sud for defamation

The Civil Court of Catanzaro, on December 11, 2017, rejected the claims for damages made by the Commissioner ad acta for the implementation of the Calabria Regional Health Return Plan, Massimo Scura, against the journalist Adriano Mollo, for some articles published in the Quotidiano del Sud related to the management of Calabrian health funds.

Scura had also sued the newspaper editor in chief, journalist Rocco Valenti, and the newspaper publisher for damages. The judge ruled that three people have respected the right to report and that “the data reported in the articles are reflected in reality”. Therefore he condemned Scura to reimburse a little more than 11 thousand euro of litigation costs, in addition to general expenses.

“It was a bad story. – said Mollo to Ossigeno – Also for this reason I think I’m not a journalist anymore. I am taking a break”.

In 2016, in the summons, Scura had accused Mollo, the chief editor and the publisher, of defaming him by publishing – between February and March of the same year – in the Quotidiano del Sud four articles in which the author criticized his management of public health in Calabria. In particular, the reporter criticized the donation of funds to private structures, analyzing the Commissioner’s decrees, and writing that how “favors went to the usual clinics of the friends of some politicians”. “The commission structure – writes Mollo in the article of March 2, 2016 – no longer acts as an institutional body of government of the processes but as a political body of patronage to favor in turn some structures close to the PD and NCD”.

For the judge, the articles not only respect the criteria of truth and relevance, but are of “great public interest”. Finally, the sentence reads that “the ministerial decrees regarding the distribution of funds to health structures are reflected by what the journalist asserted”; as far as expressive countenance is concerned, the judge points out that “the language used by Mollo, even if aimed at expressing disagreement with the work of Scura (…) does not contain abusive epithets”.

In 2015, some articles on funding in the health sector of the Calabria region cost Mollo, the newspaper chief editor, the company owning the newspaper’s website and the president of the Calabria Region, Mario Oliverio, a request for 20 million euros from of the i-Greco entrepreneurial group that manages three private clinics in Calabria. In the articles contested by Scura, Mollo refers – among others – to this group too.

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