Bari. Scagliarini acquitted. It was ruled to be not defamation

The judge rejected the claim for damages made by the former chairman of the Fiera di Bari and sentenced him to pay the legal fees of the other party

The legitimate exercise of the right to inform, protected by Article 21 of the Constitution, is subject to three requirements: the truth of the fact narrated, the public interest in the dissemination of information and the responsible presentation. On the basis of these considerations, the first civil section of the Court of Bari, Judge Marisa Attollino, on November 19th 2018, rejected the claim for damages made by the former president of the Fiera di Bari, Gianfranco Viesti, against the journalist of the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno Massimiliano Scagliarini, and the Edisud s.p.a. publishing company. In fact, the Court found that Viesti’s request was groundless, according to whom “the journalist reported news that was untrue and intended to portray him as responsible for the organization’s economic difficulties “.

The former president Viesti referred to Scagliarini’s articles published from March 2013 onwards, on the events related to his resignation and the deficit recorded in the balance sheet of the agency.

For the court, however, as stated in the sentence, Scagliarini has correctly exercised the right to report because ” the limit of truth must be syndicated without running into the contestation of an absolute objectivity of the circumstances described, giving principal attention to the reliability of the sources of the journalistic news ”. The judge notes that Viesti ” has not denied the truth of the facts reported ” nor is there any connection recognised between the resignation and the debt situation of the Entity. ” It certainly emerges – the judgement continues – the involvement of local politicians in the financial situation of the agency and the willingness of the local press to describe the deficit of the institution up to then presided over by Viesti and to give an account of the changes at the top of the agency ”.

For these reasons, Judge Attollino rejected the appeal and ordered Viesti to pay the legal costs also of the counterparties.

” I hope that Viesti , so well represented in the judicial process – the journalist Scagliarini notes- would calmly acknowledge the decision of the judge and takes steps to pay what he owes us, avoiding recourse to an executive action that would be mortifying for a person of his standing. “

Pino Cavalcanti (wt)

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