IN 2019 OXYGEN DOUBLES LEGAL AID FOR JOURNALISTS

Oxygen for Information is in its fourth year of free legal aid. For 2019 it has created a new support service for journalists burdened with trials for defamation (LEVEL B) which is added to the legal aid already successfully deployed since 2015 (LEVEL A) (read the results below, among the “trials concluded”).

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, must 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.

Both assistance services are funded by Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI), the London-based NGO that helps reporters around the world defend their rights. The Council of the Journalists Order of Tuscany also contributes to the financing. The fund is open to finance from other organizations and journalist associations.

The Legal Office of Ossigeno is coordinated by the Lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, an expert in Information and Communication law and the legal consultant for Ossigeno per l’Informazione (Oxygen for Information).

To request legal aid, write to the e-mail address: sportellolegaleossigeno@gmail.com

Terms of access to the service

Requests for legal aid or financial support will be evaluated on the basis of the severity of the incident, the economic and working conditions of the client and consideration of the strategic value of the case against reckless complaints.

Those assisted will undertake to promote the activities carried out by Ossigeno per l’Informazione in defence of the freedom of information and the protection of the profession of journalism.

In addition to free legal aid, Ossigeno also provides free legal advice and opinion, in line with the spirit of solidarity of the initiative.

Those we have assisted:

TRIALS CONCLUDED

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 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 the Judge of Rome 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 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.

ON-GOING TRIALS

1. ROBERTA SANGIORGI: Criminal proceedings underway before the Public Prosecutor of Bologna. The lawsuit was presented by the entrepreneur Luca Razzaboni for an article that appeared on October 22nd 2014 and January 11th 2015 on the website controcorrente.globalist.it.

2. 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.

3. 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).

4. CARLO D’ADAMO: Criminal trial underway before the Public Prosecutor of Bologna. The lawsuit was initiated by the entrepreneur Luca Razzaboni for an article that appeared on October 22nd 2014 on the website internetcontrocorrente.globalist.it.

5. 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).

6. ROSSELLA RICCHIUTI: The journalist was indicted for an article published on the website of Ossigeno per l’informazione and under investigation by the Postal Police. The Rome Public Prosecutor is proceeding with the case. The journalist is accused of the offences of defamation, the irresponsible publication of matters covered by investigative confidentiality and the disclosure of official secrecy. The article was published on May 30th 2014.

7. 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.

8. CONCITA DE GREGORIO: Concita De Gregorio was sued in 2008 by Mediaset S.p.A. Already defended by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, he was acquitted at the first instance by the Court of Rome on the 9th March 2015. The Prosecuting Magistrate did not challenge the acquittal. Mediaset S.p.A. on the other hand, challenged the acquittal sentence and De Gregorio was notified of the verdict on the appeal on the 20th February 2018. In the meantime De Gregorio has lost the indemnity from the publisher and risks, in addition to the legal costs, to have to compensate Mediaset with his own personal resources.

9. 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).

10. ENRICO FIERRO: On October 18th 2006 the journalist was sued for the offence of defamation in print by the then European Parliamentarian of the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats Aldo Patriciello for an article that appeared in L’Unità on July 20th 2006 entitled “Carabinieri discover bribes: but are then transferred ”. Fierro was sent for trial on the 18th March 2008 and was then acquitted by the Criminal Court of Rome on the 14th January 2013. Nevertheless, the civil party filed an appeal which was set for December 14th 2018, but in the meantime Fierro had lost its indemnity from the publisher of L’Unità and must face alone the expenses for the second degree, as well as the risk of compensation being established following the appeal in case the first instance acquittal sentence is overturned.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. MARILÙ MASTROGIOVANNI: The journalist will become a civil party, and with her also Ossigeno per l’Informazione, in the criminal trial for aggravated defamation brought by the people who insulted her and threatened her when her investigative journalism revealed suspicious links among exponents of the local public administration and some characters linked to the Mafia in Puglia. Criminal proceedings underway before the Lecce Criminal Court.