Is the dignity of a journalist worth so little?

On the compensation awarded by the Court of Paola to the journalist Paolo Orofino for a wallop.

Alberto Spampinato, director of Ossigeno per l’Informazione has declared that with the conviction of the attacker of Paolo Orofino the Court of Paola has done justice by punishing the perpetrator of unacceptable violence (read here the news).

At the same time Paola’s trial has highlighted some by now historic inadequacies. The first is that justice comes late, very late, even for events like this. But what stands out in this sentence as a flaw is above all the laughable amount of compensation awarded to the reporter.

Paolo Orofino became a civil party in this trial having suffered an unjustifiable public humiliation, an offence that damaged his image and consequently his professional activity as a journalist, committed at some personal risk, like each journalist, to discover and document information of public interest. The slapped journalist made this choice of being a civil party, a choice that expresses confidence in the justice system and a willingness to defend one’s personal and professional dignity. A choice that also requires a certain amount of courage: the courage to openly oppose the aggressor, which is not common, not only in Calabria.

Admittedly it is difficult to quantify the amount of damage he has suffered. And it is certainly admirable that the judge recognized his right to have compensation. But let’s face it. Quantifying the damage in the laughable sum of 200 euro looks like a humiliation that Paolo Orofino does not deserve, that no journalist, no professional deserves who every day for his work (which consists in informing the public let’s not forget) and which risks undeserved violence and abuse. The dignity of a journalist is worth more than 200 euro, I can assure you. I hope that the judge also appreciates this. Meanwhile Ossigeno expresses solidarity with Paolo Orofino and encourages him to continue to exercise his profession with his head held high.


Read the background here

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