Preventive confiscation of 7 files linked to an article in CorriereQuotidiano.it. Dispute with the author. Damages requested from the editor
On the 17th November 2017 the Catania police under instruction from the Tribunale of L’Aquila carried out a preventive confiscation of seven files containing images of the pay packets of directors of the companies Brioni S.p.A and Roman Style S.p.A. leaders in the male clothing sector who are active in Abruzzo. The files were linked to an article by Mauro
D’Agostino, collaborator with the online newspaper CorriereQuotidiano.it, published on the 7th June 2017. One month before the confiscation of the files, on the 17th October, the police of Collecorvino (Pescara) had notified Mauro D’Agostino that an investigation had begun into him for defamation following a dispute with the company.
The free legal aid office of Ossigeno took up the defence of Mauro D’Agostino who had not received this assistance from his publisher (read here the motives).
The companies had requested the removal of the article just the day after its publication, defining it damaging to the image of the company and harmful for its commercial relationships.
Mauro D’Agostino had published this article in the context of a serialised investigation which CorriereQuotidiano.it had hosted between the 10th March and the 19th June 2017.
In the author’s view the confiscated files indicated that several directors had awarded themselves production bonuses whilst the company’s revenues progressively declined.
In 2016 the company had declared that 400 of the over one thousand employees in the three factories in the province of Pescara were redundant. During negotiations in which central Government, the Region and the trade unions participated the redundancies were reduced to 139 and accompanied by voluntary redundancy incentives and by a reduction in working hours and pay.
A lawsuit for damages: ten days after the confiscation of the files, on the 28th November the publishing company of CorriereQuotidiano.it (SL Mediainvest s.r.l.) received notice of the beginning of a mediation procedure as a prelude to being cited for damages by the Brioni company itself. The document states that “the case – presented to the civil tribunal of Rome is directed to the publication Corrierequotidiano.it for defamation in print”. Fourteen articles are disputed, predominantly signed by D’Agostino and published between the 10th March and the 29th September 2017.
In them, D’Agostino taking note of an accident which befell a worker inside the factory writes of a presumed lack of compliance with the safety regulations, a neglect of the toilet facilities and poor management of wages and of tenders. Presumably it is for these articles that D’Agostino has been sued. Among those disputed in the civil courts there is also the article to which were linked the confiscated files.
This episode forms part of the statistics compiled by Ossigeno per l’Informazione of intimidation of media workers.