A worrying no to NGO as civil parties at trial for the journalist hitten by policemen

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OSSIGENO 20th October 2020 – A Statement by Alberto Spampinato on the decision of the Genoa investigating magistrate at the hearing for the 2019 attack on the journalist of “La Repubblica”

ROME, OCTOBER 20th 2020 – I express disappointment and concern at the decision of the Genoa investigating magistrate not to accept the request for a civil action from Ossigeno per l’Informazione and the other associations representing journalists in the trial that opened today in Genoa of those responsible for the serious attack on the journalist Stefano Origone in Genoa, on May 23rd 2019. (Read more on the hearing)

Discounting the circumstance that the person attacked by police officers on duty maintaining public order was a journalist this decision demeans the profession of every journalist engaged in news reporting, denies the public function and the civic value of these professional figures who are the pillars and voice of press freedom and the right of citizens to be informed.

It is worrying that the trial has begun like this. Ossigeno had asked to appear as a civil party, entrusting the task to the lawyer Andrea DI Pietro, considering that this attack has infringed not only the personal rights of the citizen Stefano Origone but also those of the journalist engaged in an activity of public interest. More generally, it has also infringed the right to information and the freedom of the press, a collective right sanctioned by laws and treaties that the not-for-profit association Ossigeno per l’Informazione is committed to advocating and defending as a statutory duty.
Ossigeno also has suffered the damage of a legitimate interest and therefore, in agreement with Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI), had requested to be a civil party.

I hope that the judges in Genoa will take these aspects more into account. However Ossigeno and MLDI will support the choice of the journalist to seek compensation for damages in civil proceedings, assisted by his trusted lawyer, Errico Canepa, with a gratuity to partially cover legal costs.
Many, too many, journalists because of their work are subjected to unjustifiable intimidation, threats, and aggressions and to defend their rights they have to face trials that set them against powerful individuals, often stronger than them. Ossigeno, therefore, provides free legal aid to the weakest reporters and takes sides with the reporters in trials that have strategic importance also in order to make everyone understand what dramatic problems those who are committed to documenting the truth must face also when that truth it is unwelcome to strong and aggressive individuals and institutions.

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