Legal aid. Court dismisses libel charge to Marilù Mastrogiovanni sued by criminal complaint

The journalist had been sued for reporting contents of a revealing wiretap of contacts with the Sacra Corona Unita (a major Italian crime syndicate)

OSSIGENO – 1st May 2021 – On the 26th April 2021 the Court of Lecce acquitted the journalist Marilù Mastrogiovanni, editor-in-chief of the online newspaper Il Tacco d’Italia,(the Heel of Italy) of the accusation of libel (classified as aggravated defamation)in the lawsuit filed against her by three individuals of Casarano (Lecce), including the former mayor. The same persons were, in turn, accused in a combined trial for some acts of intimidation against the journalist, carried out in 2017, with repeated threatening and intimidating behaviour. The Court of Lecce also acquitted these three defendants.

Marilù Mastrogiovanni was accused of aggravated defamation of these three co-defendants, for having written in an article that, based on the content of a wiretap  made public in the documents of a judicial proceeding, these three individuals appeared to be linked  been linked to the Sacra Corona Unita . The court recognized that the information was not defamatory.

The reasoning behind the judgement is awaited in order to understand on what grounds the judges did not attach the responsibility for intimidation to the opposing parties.

Ossigeno per l’Informazione, who appeared as a civil party alongside Marilù Mastrogiovanni, takes note of the sentence and expresses great satisfaction for her well-deserved acquittal, which does justice to her correct behaviour and professional courage, once again endorsed by a judgement in the face of yet another reckless lawsuit.

This trial establishes, inter alia, among other things, the entitlement of Ossigeno per l’Informazione to be a civil party in defence of freedom of the press in criminal trials against unjustified attacks that endanger journalists, bloggers and civil activists who legitimately exercise the right to expression and information.

The dangerous situation of Marilù Mastrogiovanni, in this case, arose from heavy interference due to the publication of investigative journalism in the newspaper Il Tacco d’Italia, of which she is also the chief editor. These exclusive investigations have revealed an alarming scenario of connivance between exponents of local politics and the Sacra Corona Unita, the infamous criminal organization of the mafia type of Puglia about which the local media speaks little.

To this dangerous situation has been added a heavy climate of delegitimization created by those who do not like the investigations of the Salento journalist. Threats, severe insults, the mud-slinging machine and defamation were all used against her. In essence, an attempt was made to undermine the personal credibility and professional integrity of Marilù Mastrogiovanni through duplicitous and sexist attacks on social networks.

Over the years, the journalist has had to defend herself from numerous spurious, unfounded, intimidating lawsuits of which she was acquitted, albeit at the cost of anguish, sacrifices and concern. Fortunately, she has received numerous expressions of solidarity and support from the most important institutional and representative organisations in the world of information.

Undoubtedly the situation of personal danger to which she is still exposed deserves greater consideration.

ASP

 

 

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