ALSO IN 2022 OSSIGENO TRIPLES ITS FREE LEGAL AID TO JOURNALISTS
Ossigeno per l’Informazione is in its seventh year of free legal aid. Also for 2022, the two original services of legal aid and financial support, now established at a national level (LEVELS A and B), will continue to have an additional form of assistance (LEVEL C) for journalists subjected to violence, threats or other crimes committed in order to limit the exercise of their profession.
- LEVEL A): This service continues to provide specialist and totally free legal aid to journalists, freelancers and bloggers who, despite having acted correctly and in good faith, face criminal charges for defamation or other crimes without the indemnity of the publisher.
- LEVEL B): This service provides for journalists, freelancers and bloggers who already have a reliable defence counsel, a financial contribution to support the legal costs necessary to defend themselves in civil or criminal defamation proceedings.
- LEVEL C): For journalists, freelancers and bloggers who have suffered acts of violence or threat, or other crimes aimed at limiting their freedom to carry out their journalistic profession; this service provides totally free legal aid that allows the journalist to remain in the trial as a person having been offended. In this way he or she would be able to become a civil party and obtain damages.
All three legal aid services are funded by the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI), the London NGO that helps reporters around the world defend their rights. The fund is open to funding from other organizations and professional associations.
The Legal Office of Ossigeno is coordinated by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, an expert in information and communication law and legal consultant to Ossigeno per l’Informazione. (Oxygen for Information).
To request legal aid, write to the following email address:
Conditions of access to the service
Requests for legal aid or financial support will be assessed on the basis of the severity of the case, the economic and working conditions of the client and in consideration of the strategic value of action against vexatious litigation.
Those aided are asked to promote the activities carried out by Ossigeno per l’Informazione (Oxygen for Information) in defence of the freedom of information and to protect the profession of journalism.
In addition to free legal aid, Ossigeno provides, equally free of charge, legal advice and opinions, in line with the solidarity spirit of the initiative.
Ossigeno has assisted all the following:
1. DANIELE BRUNETTI: Criminal trial at the Court of La Spezia which saw Brunetti acquitted on February 20th 2017. The litigant for the lawsuit was Mayor of Portovenere for a post published on Facebook on September 20th 2014. (Read here).
2. ALBERTO SPAMPINATO: Civil case against Simone Fazzari concluded before the Court of Rome on the 18th January 2017 with a settlement. The article had been published on the web site of Ossigeno per l’Informazione on 12th February 2016.
3. ANTONIO ROCCUZZO: Criminal proceedings pending before the Court of Rome, transferred by territorial jurisdiction to the Public Prosecutor of Reggio Emilia on March 9th 2017. The litigant was Ines Sartori for an article published on the blog of fattoquotidiano.it on the 13th June 2015. Roccuzzo was acquitted of defamation on the 12th January 2018 by the General Prosecutor of Rome. (Read here).
4. CLAUDIA ALDI: Appeal proceedings against the first instance sentence of the Court of Perugia of a financial penalty and compensation for damages of 25,000 euro. The appeal process ended with a judgement of full acquittal of the journalist and revocation of the civil statutes. The lawsuit had been initiated by members of the Grosseto Judicial Police for an article that appeared in the Corriere della Maremma newspaper on April 18th 2003. (read here and here).
5. RAFFAELLA FANELLI: Criminal trial pending before the Court of Milan. Opposition to the prosecuting magistrate’s request for it to be dismissed by the allegedly offended heirs of Paolo Signorelli, formerly of NAR and Ordine Nuovo. The lawsuit was for an article that appeared on the repubblica.it website on the 25th May 2015. Raffaella Fanelli was acquitted of defamation by order of the General Prosecutor of Milan on the 13th February 2018. (read here).
6. STEFANIA LIMITI: The journalist was charged with the offence under article 371 bis c.p. of the penal code for refusing to disclose the identity of a trusted source to public prosecutors. The journalist was acquitted on the 12th January 2018 by the Criminal Court of Rome because there was no case to answer. (Read here and here and here).
7. GABRIELE COCCHI: On the 11th October 2016, the journalist was sued for defamation by the former managing director of ATC (the La Spezia municipal transport company) Renato Goretta, for two articles published in the online newspaper Gazzettadellaspezia.it on July 12th and July 23rd 2016. The journalist was acquitted of defamation by order of the prosecuting magistrate of La Spezia on the 11th January 2019. (read here).
8. RAFFAELLA COSENTINO: Criminal trial pending before the Court of Rome, transferred by territorial jurisdiction from Crotone on May 11th 2016. The lawsuit was initiated by Pasquale Poerio for an article published on the website of L’Espresso on the 2nd October 2015. The journalist was acquitted of defamation charges by order of a Rome Judge with a verdict notified on January 14th 2019. In addition, Pasquale Poerio was accused of slander against the journalist by the same Roman magistrate who requested the dismissal of the case for defamation. (read here).
9. GIULIA CERINO: The journalist was sued for a television news report broadcast on La7 on the 11th June 2015 as part of the AnnoUno program produced by Michele Santoro’s company. The report reconstructed, through interviews, the story of the death of Federica Monti, which occurred due to a traffic accident caused by the drunkenness of the driver of the vehicle, returning from an evening at a disco. The driver of the vehicle is the litigant who has filed for defamation. The journalist was acquitted of defamation by order of the general prosecutor of Velletri on the 11th March 2019.
10. ENRICO FIERRO: On the 18th October 2006 the journalist was sued for the offence of defamation aggravated in the press by the then UDC member of the European Parliament Aldo Patriciello for an article published in L’Unità on 20th July 2006 entitled “Police discover bribes and are then transferred “. Fierro was indicted on March 18th 2008 and was later acquitted by the Criminal Court of Rome on January 14th 2013.
Nonetheless, the civil party has filed an appeal that had been set for December 14th, 2018, but in the meantime Fierro has lost the indemnity from the publisher of L’Unità. On October 29th 2019 the last hearing of the Appeal Judgment was held and which ended, also for the Second Degree, with an acquittal.
11. ROBERTA SANGIORGI and CARLO D’ADAMO: On the 24th February 2020 the journalists Carlo D’Adamo and Roberta Sangiorgi who had been sued by the Emilian entrepreneur Luca Razzaboni and were defended by the Legal Aid Office of Ossigeno per l’Informazione (Oxygen for Information), were acquitted by the Criminal Court of Bologna in relation to one of the articles for which they had been sued but were convicted of the residual charge. The prosecutor has asked for an 8-month prison sentence. The defence lawyers, Andrea Di Pietro and Valerio Vartolo, will appeal against the part of the sentence that provides for that sentence. The three articles reported the story of the toxic mud stored in San Giovanni in Persiceto (Bologna) published in 2014 by Controcorrente.Globalist.it
12. FEDERICO MARCONI and PAOLO MARCHETTI: On the 6th July 2020 the Court of Rome sentenced Giuliano Castellino, leader of Forza Nuova, and Vincenzo Nardulli of Avanguardia Nazionale each to five years and six months of imprisonment, finding them guilty of robbery from the journalist Federico Marconi and the photographer Paolo Marchetti who were attacked in Rome on the 7th January 2019, at the Verano Cemetery, where they were sent by the weekly l’Espresso, to report on a gathering of far-right militants to commemorate the dead of Acca Larentia when in 1978 three members of the Italian Social Movement, an Italian far-right party, were murdered while leaving local party headquarters. Federico Marconi and Paolo Marchetti, represented in court by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, obtained full justice, together with compensation for damages. Ossigeno per l’informazione also appeared as a civil party to safeguard freedom of information, seriously affected by the facts highlighted in the trial.
13. ROSSELLA RICCHIUTI: The journalist was indicted for an article published on the Ossigeno per l ‘information website and under investigation by the Postal Police. The Rome Public Prosecutor prosecuted the case. The journalist was charged with the crimes of libel and arbitrary publication of documents covered by the confidentiality of an investigation and revealing official secrets. The article was published on May 30th 2014. The investigating judge of Rome on February 4th 2021 acquitted the journalist of the of which she had been accused, together with Federica Angeli and 12 other journalists.
14. CONCITA DE GREGORIO: she had been sued together with Marco Travaglio in 2008 by Mediaset S.p.A. Defended from the outset by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro; she was acquitted in the first instance by the Court of Rome on 9th March 2015. The prosecutor did not challenge the acquittal. Mediaset S.p.A. instead challenged the acquittal sentence and Concita De Gregorio was again acquitted in the appeal on May 4th 2021.
15. MARILU’MASTROGIOVANNI: the journalist will be a civil party in the criminal trial for aggravated defamation of the people who insulted and threatened her on the occasion of the publication of journalistic investigations that revealed suspicious connections between representatives of the local public administration and some individuals linked to the mafia in Puglia. The criminal case was pending at the Criminal Court of Lecce. Ossigeno per l’Informazione, through the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, requested and obtained her civil action in the trial against the journalist’s attackers to protect threatened journalists.
16. STEFANO ORIGONE: The Prosecuting Magistrate Gabriella Dotto had indicted four policemen from the Genoa mobile squad accused of being the perpetrators of the violent beating of the La Repubblica journalist Stefano Origone, which took place in Piazza Corvetto on the 23rd May 2019. Origone was savagely beaten in the middle of the clashes that day between anti-Fascists and police during a rally of the far-right party Casapound. The journalist received serious physical (as well as moral) injuries, destined to remain permanent, despite numerous surgical operations. Ossigeno appeared in court next to Stefano Origone in order to appear as a civil party to stigmatize the umpteenth act of violence suffered by a journalist during his work. The four policemen were sentenced on February 10th 2021 and the journalist obtained full justice, together with damages.
1 LIRIO ABBATE: Civil case underway before the Court of Rome against a member of the Chamber of Criminal Lawyers in Rome. The summons was presented by Avv. Giovanni Pagliarulo for a post on Facebook published on October 14th 2015.
2. RITA PENNAROLA: Civil case underway before the Court of Rome. The first trial ended with Pennarola sentenced on June 9th, 2016 to pay damages. An appeal was filed with a request to suspend the sentence. The court summons was initiated by the magistrate Francesco Verusio for an article published in the magazine La voce delle voci in April 2012 (read here).
3. LORENZO BAGNOLI: Criminal proceedings underway before the Public Prosecutor of Rome. Last August the conclusion of the preliminary investigations was announced. A defence brief was filed requesting the dismissal of the case. The lawsuit was filed by Antonio Toriello for an article published in the weekly L’Espresso on July 28th 2016. (read).
4. MAURO D’AGOSTINO: The companies La Brioni S.p.A. and Roman Style filed a criminal complaint against the publisher D’Agostino for investigative journalism regarding the companies’ extravagance to the detriment of employees. They also filed a civil suit against the chief editor Silvio Aparo and against the publisher of corrierequotidiano.it.
5. RAFFAELLA FANELLI (2): The journalist was sued by the well-known criminologist Dr. Bruzzone and by the lawyer Gallops for some of her declarations made to the presenter Marco Liorni on December 14th 2016 during the broadcast by Rai 1 of “La Vita in Diretta” broadcast (see here).
6. SANDRA AMURRI: On April 30th 2012 Sandra Amurri was convicted of libel against the Prosecuting Magistrate Dr. Lorenzo Matassa for an article published in L’Unita on December 3rd 2006 entitled: “Smears and golden reimbursements: the “theatre” of Scaramella “. Ossigeno per l’Informazione has taken up the journalist’s defence in view of the extent of the appeal not yet established.
7. ROS BELFORD: In December 2018 the English journalist was sued by the Mayor of Agrigento Lillo Firetto for an unappreciated review of the Sicilian city contained in a well-known Rough Guide published in Italy by Feltrinelli.
8. MARCO D’AGUANNO: On October 29th 2018 (in a sentence issued on December 28th 2018) the alleged assailants of the video reporter Marco D’Aguanno were acquitted in a dubious procedure by the Criminal Court of Cassino. After the first degree trial the journalist turned to Ossigeno per l’Informazione for the appeal proposal. The lawyer Di Pietro filed the appeal on the 11th February 2019.
9. RAFFAELLA FANELLI (3): The journalist was sued by the well-known serial killer Marco Bergamo (who subsequently died on October 17th 2017) for an article published in the weekly OGGI on May 26th 2016 which reported the statements of Maurizia Mazzotta, the mother of his first victim, Marcella Casagrande, stabbed to death at the age of 15. According to the serial killer the offending interview would have jeopardized his release from prison, at that time imminent. Criminal proceedings are underway before the Criminal Court of Milan.
10. COSIMO CARIDI: On the 10th December 2019 Cosimo Caridi was in the centre of Rome when he realized that some municipal police officers were detaining a foreign peddler who had fallen to the ground in an attempt to get away. The reporter turned on his camera and started shooting the scene while keeping his distance. His presence with the camera in his hand annoyed the officers. One of them approached the reporter and covered the lens with his hands. He asked him to produce documents and then the two officers took him to the police station on the Campidoglio, where he was detained for over two hours and a formal complaint was made against him for the offence of disrupting a public service. He will be assisted in the trial by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro and the fee will be borne by Il Fatto Quotidiano who has offered to support the case.
11. KELLY DUDA: the American journalist Kelly Duda is accused of the offence of insulting a magistrate in a hearing because where he was a witness in the context of the trial conducted in Naples on the scandal of infected blood against Duilio Poggiolini and some former managers of the Marcucci group (all acquitted). At the end of the testimony he allegedly approached the Prosecuting Magistrate by commenting on his behaviour at the hearing which was deemed offensive by the Prosecuting Magistrate. For this incident, Duda faced two criminal trials in Rome with the double charge of insulting a magistrate in a hearing. The second criminal trial is also supported by Ossigeno but with funding from the Dutch NGO Free Press Unlimited.
12. MAURO D’AGOSTINO (2): Brioni S.p.A. and Roman Style, in response to investigative journalism by the editor D’Agostino on corporate management to the detriment of employees, filed a lawsuit against D’Agostino for publishing confidential documents that demonstrated the existence of production bonuses in favour of the management of Brioni despite the company’s financial and employment difficulties.
13. LORENZO TONDO: The correspondent of The Guardian received a civil damages claim from the Prosecuting Magistrate Calogero Ferrara for a post published on his Facebook page where Tondo commented on the Prosecuting Magistrate’s words against the press which had criticized him for the management of the “Mered” case. That Mered trial subsequently established that the individual arrested by the Prosecuting Magistrate had actually been the victim of mistaken identity with one of the most dangerous human traffickers in the world. The Prosecuting Magistrate had said that the journalists who accused the Prosecutor of capturing the wrong person would go on to conduct a press campaign to cover up the real trafficker. The news, reported by the La Repubblica, was later corrected by Ferrara himself who claimed that the attack referred to the journalist and collaborator of The Guardian Meron Estefanos. According to Ferrara, Tondo should have checked the news of La Repubblica before publishing it on his private Facebook profile. Tondo, who first raised the case of mistaken identity, had already been the subject of numerous attacks by the Palermo prosecutor’s office which in 2017 had also intercepted some telephone conversations between the reporter and one of his sources.
14. FEDERICO MARCONI and PAOLO MARCHETTI : On the 6th July 2020 the Court of Rome sentenced Giuliano Castellino, leader of Forza Nuova, and Vincenzo Nardulli of Avanguardia Nazionale each to five years and six months of imprisonment, finding them guilty of aggravated robbery from the two journalists Federico Marconi and Paolo Marchetti. Ossigeno will continue to deal with the defence of the two journalists, now also subject to the accusation of slander, with the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro. The alleged offence of slander arose from two defamation lawsuits that Vincenzo Nardulli presented the day after L’Espresso had published reports of the events that occurred in the Verano Cemetery on the 7th January 2019. The truth of the facts reported by the two victims Marconi and Marchetti and published by the L’Espresso has now been confirmed by the heavy first-degree sentence for the crime of robbery. In addition to providing free legal defence to the two journalists, Ossigeno will act as a civil party independently and directly to protect and defend the freedom of the press.
15. MARIA FERRANTE: The chief editor of the news aggregator web portal dedicated to the re-publication of news of interest to Italians residing abroad, was sentenced in the first instance on October 27th 2020, together with the interviewees, for defamation allegedly committed through the publication of a very critical press release against the Italian Consul General in Marseille who had requested 50,000 euro in damages. The facts: on January 17th 2017, a “rassemblement pacifique” (a peaceful protest) was organized in Marseille both by Comites, the representative body of Italians abroad in collaboration with the diplomatic consular representations, and by Italians residing in Marseille. They wanted to peacefully protest against the Consul General in Marseille against some of his measures and attitudes that had created a lot of discontent among Italian expatriates. The press release that followed the protest was deemed defamatory in the first instance and the chief editor Ferrante turned to Ossigeno per l’Information for help with the appeal, which was submitted on 21st April 2021.
16. VANESSA VALVO: Ossigeno has decided to provide free legal aid to the journalist Vanessa Valvo. The criminal trial (the first hearing, originally set for June 8th 2021 but postponed to October 12th 2021) arises from the complaint filed on April 4th 2015 by the Reverend Don Dino Campiotti against the journalist and chief editor of the weekly L ‘Alto Milanese, Emilio Mattioni . The case concerns the publication of two articles published on the 16th and 30th January 2015 deemed offensive to the reputation of the “Multidea” Cooperative, based in Novara. The allegedly incriminating articles report the search that the police had carried out in the headquarters of the Cooperative and of the possible connections with one of the most important Italian judicial inquiries in recent years, Mafia Capitale. Ossigeno, after examining the trial papers together with the legal team, found that what the journalist wrote was based on real evidence.
17. FABIO BUTERA: Ossigeno is assisting the freelance journalist Fabio Butera accused of defamation for having published a post on his Facebook page criticizing a news article by the journalist Valentino Gonzato entitled: “Asylum seekers want to have Sky (Pay-TV ), a protest erupts “, published shortly before on the website of the ” Giornale di Vicenza “. Fabio Butera found it hard to believe that this request from asylum seekers was true. He therefore requested confirmation from the Police Headquarters, the Prefecture and the author of the article himself, without obtaining any convincing confirmation. And so Butera related in his post an account of his unsuccessful search for confirmation and criticized the colleague for his article. The question immediately became one of national and political interest. The press and politicians have taken a stand because migrants have been described in an abhorrent way. Now, Fabio Butera had been sued for damages for defamation by the journalist of the “Giornale di Vicenza” Valentino Gonzato. Fabio Butera is now on trial which began on Thursday 24th June 2021 at the Civil Court of Verona, where he is defended by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro.
18. PAOLO CUCCHIARELLI: Loredana, Alessandro and Marco Fachini, heirs of Massimiliano Fachini, who died on February 3rd 2000, began a civil action on June 28th 2021 against Paolo Cucchiarelli, a well-known and respected investigative journalist. The civil case began with a mediation procedure before the Civitavecchia Bar Association, aimed at obtaining compensation for the damage allegedly caused by statements, considered serious and defamatory, written in the investigative journalism book entitled “Ustica and Bologna, an attack on Italy” published in June 2020 on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Ustica massacre. The legal action also concerns the publishers La Nave di Teseo. Ossigeno has taken up the defence of the author Paolo Cucchiarelli represented by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro as Ossigeno considers this request for compensation vexatious and reckless.
19. ROSSELLA PUCCIO: Ossigeno per l’Informazione will support the defence and legal aid of the freelance journalist Rossella Puccio, represented by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, who was attacked on August 15th 2020 by a large group. The serious attack occurred while the journalist reported an intervention by the police to clear the beach of Punta Barcarello of tents erected in violation of the anti Covid prohibitions. She was struck with kicks, punches and head-butts in the face, while people who witnessed the incident were indifferent, did not defend the journalist and refused to intervene. Fortunately the police arrived and saved the journalist and her friend who was also attacked after trying to defend Puccio. The criminal trial against the attackers will begin in January.
20. FEDERICO MARCONI and PAOLO MARCHETTI (3): In 2021 the neo-Fascists of Forza Nuova Giuliano Castellino and Vincenzo Nardulli challenged the first degree sentence whereby they were sentenced to five and a half years of imprisonment for the offences of robbery and injury of the journalists Federico Marconi and Paolo Marchetti. The lawyer Andrea Di Pietro who represented the journalists in the first instance trial will continue to represent them also in the appeal case. The two journalists of L’Espresso were physically attacked while reporting on a Fascist event in the monumental cemetery of Verano in Rome on the 7th January 2019. Ossigeno has also been admitted to intervene on its own behalf in the trial in defence of the right to freedom of expression. This criminal trial has great national significance and it is important to continue to assist the two journalists free of charge to keep the public’s attention focussed on the issue of crimes against journalists.
OSSIGENO CONTRIBUTIONS FOR LEGAL EXPENSESGIVEN
1) Fabio Di Chio (details here)
2) Dania Mondini and Claudio Loiodice (details here)
3) Angela Baglioni (details here)
4) Angelo Di Natale (details here)
5) Natale Salvo (details here)
6) Nazareno Di Noi (details here)
1) Paolo Sarandrea (details here)
2) Adelina Mandara (details here)
3) Mariano Giustino (details here)
4) Maria D’Amico (details here)
5) Stefano Origone (2) (details here)
6) Rita Pennarola (2) (details here)
7) Marco Pastore (details here)
8) Giorgio Santoriello (details here)
1) Roberto La Pira (details here)
2) Giuditta Mosca (details here)
3) Vincenzo Carriero (despite repeated requests, has never contributed the due information)
4) Andrea Cinquegrani (details here)
5) Andrea Palladino (details here)
6) Giovanni Coviello (details here)
7) Paolo Marchetti (details here)
8) Federica Angeli (details here)
asp/ updated jan 26, 2022