Violations, lack of legislation and loopholes

A number of press freedom violations could be prevented by filling some gaps in the law, some gaps of legal rules. Oxygen has indicated some of these gaps in Italian law. The most serious is the lack of criminal protection of press freedom.

In Italy, as in other Western countries, freedom of expression and the press is a right established by the Constitution, but who deliberately hinders this right can not be punished for this. Hinder this right is not an offense under the Criminal Code. Neither the Italian Criminal Code provides for aggravating the penalties for those who commit crimes in order to hinder the freedom of expression and the press.

In Italy, as in other Western countries, freedom of expression and the press is a right established by the Constitution, but who deliberately hinders this right is not punishable for this. Hinder this right is not an offense under the Criminal Code. Neither the Italian Criminal Code provides for severe penalties for those who commit a crime in order to obstruct the freedom of expression and the press.

Ossigeno has indicated some of them in the Italian law. The most serious is the lack of penal protection of the press freedom in our system. In Italy, as well in other western countries, who deliberately obstruct the freedom of expression and the press is not punishable for this, because it isn’t a crime for itself under the Penal Code. In addition, the Italian Penal Code does not provide for an aggravated penalty for the person who commits a crime in order to obstruct the freedom of expression and the press.

Ossigeno has campaigned on this point and lately this lack of penal protection has been underlined by the italian Antimafia parliamentary commission in its report released in August 2015 and approved on March 3, 2016, from the Camera dei Deputati with Government’s consensus. The report suggest legislative reforms to change this and other points.

 

For example, according to the Anti-Mafia Commission, the Criminal Code should distinguish the libel committed through negligence or fault from the libel committed intentionally, deliberately, spreading incorrect or false information with the intention of harming someone.

Furthermore, the law should explicitly state that the state considers of public interest the work of those who will collect and disseminate information in the public interest.

There are many loopholes that let bullies to obstruct freedom of the press without be punished. In Italy who promotes libel unfounded easily is unpunished. Even if the Civil Procedure Code provides sanctions, no one applies them. Only in recent days the Italian Parliament has recognized this fact and asked the Government to prevent such loopholes. For these and other lacks and loopholes in Italy there is an increasing abuse of the specious lawsuit against journalists who publish news unwelcome to powers.
In Ossigeno opinion, there are similar problems in other european countries about legislation. Therefore exchanges of opinions and comparative discussions on the different legislative models are useful to discover common problems and common way to face them.
ASP

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  1. […] should be a criminal offence to limit press freedom. He argues that the right to be informed is the only fundamental human right not protected by criminal law – not just in Italy but also in other European […]

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