IN 2020 OSSIGENO’S FREE LEGAL AID FOR JOURNALISTS HAS TRIPLED.

Ossigeno per l’Informazione (Oxygen for Information) is in its fifth year of free legal aid. For 2020, a new form of aid (LEVEL C) is added to the first two legal aid services already successfully tested since 2015 (LEVELS A and B) for journalists who are victims of violence, threats or other crimes which 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:

sportellolegaleossigeno@gmail.com

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:

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 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

ON-GOING TRIALS

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. 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.

5. 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.

6. CONCITA DE GREGORIO: Concita De Gregorio was sued in 2008 by Mediaset S.p.A. Already defended by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, she 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 her own personal resources.

7. 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).

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. FEDERICO MARCONI: On March 28th 2019, by order of the Judge of the Court of Rome and the Public Prosecutor of Rome, Digos (division for general investigations and special operations of the state police) ordered the arrest, for aggravated robbery and aggravated injuries, of two exponents of the far-right Rome movements: Giuliano Castellino and Vincenzo Nardulli, accused of the attack on the reporter Federico Marconi and the photographer Paolo Marchetti of the weekly L’Espresso, which took place on the 7th January 2019 at the Verano Cemetery in Rome. The lawyer Andrea Di Pietro is defending the victims Marconi and Marchetti. The trial is ongoing and the next hearing will be on February 25th  2020.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17 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.

OSSIGENO GRATUITY (CONTRIBUTION TO LEGAL EXPENSES):

                                                       Year 2020                                                    

1) Paolo Sarandrea (details here)

                                                        Year 2020

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 May 20, 2020