Comment by the director of Ossigeno following the acquittal of the Syracuse journalist, Carmelo Maiorca who had been sued by a former prosecutor
The acquittal of the journalist Carmelo Maiorca (see here) sued by a former prosecutor of Syracusa (Italy) arrived after seven years during which this honest journalist, in addition to the pain of having to defend himself against a groundless accusation, had also to support the financial burden of legal defence and the cost of numerous journeys for hearings and interrogations.
Ossigeno expresses great satisfaction with the verdict of the judge of Messina which obtains justice.
For the part that was his responsibility, our Observatory assessed the circumstances and recognized the correctness of the work of this reporter and, consequently, Ossigeno considered it its duty to accept his request to contribute to the defence costs with a bonus granted by our Legal Aid Office. It was the correct choice.
This trial should make everyone understand how necessary and urgent it is to modify the laws on libel.
In Italy six thousand journalists are sued each year. Nine out of ten are unjustly accused, just as happened to Carmelo Maiorca. Although in most cases this is clear from the outset, if journalists want to have the satisfaction of seeing it recognized by a judge, those sued undergo the same long procedure and must bear the same costs as Maiorca. It is time for the Italian Parliament to change the laws and procedures that permit this to happen. If there is political will, Parliament can put an end to this massacre in just a few weeks, by changing a few pieces of legislation that for decades has made it possible to use, with impunity, lawsuits to intimidate and to impose so-called prudence on newspapers and journalists that we should more properly call censorship.