Ossigeno’s lawyer pointed out that in Italy press freedom is still a facade.
“When we ask ourselves if freedom of the press exists in Italy, we must say no. It is a façade of freedom, purely imaginary. How can you feel free when threats come from crime, from legal actions and even from legislation? “. This was underlined by Andrea Di Pietro, legal expert of Ossigeno per le Informazioni, during the conference “Much Mafia, Little News”, which took place in the Lower House of the Italian Parliament on the 10th May 2019.
“I challenge anyone to find another profession of such relevance and such social impact as journalism that experiences the same anxieties, the same fears – he added -. It is astonishing to have to admit it, but it was legislators who historically introduced the worst threat to journalists: imprisonment. This limitation of freedom of the press is the most painful one to accept”.
“Finally, thanks to the courage of a minor judge of the Court of Salerno, Giovanni Rossi, today this requirement (the prison sentence, ed.) is being examined by the Constitutional Court. What will the Court do? It is difficult to say. I think that it will declare the constitutional illegitimacy of the law, finally and definitively abolishing imprisonment for journalists. Thus overriding the legislators for the umpteenth time, who have never wanted to or never knew ever since 1948 how to make effective the art. 21 of our Constitution regarding the freedom of the press”.
Analysing the current national regulatory framework, Ossigeno’s lawyer recalled that the draft law on defamation reform, “where, however, the abolition of imprisonment was foreseen, ran miserably aground,” thus stating “the state of chronic immobility regarding information and above all the category of journalists. On a day when we should celebrate with enthusiasm the centrality of press freedom in a country like ours that aims to be democratically advanced, we must instead remember the usual difficulties and obstacles that hinder its full exercise “.