The journalist Cristiano Degni sued him for defamation. The trial will be on January
OSSIGENO 28th November 2023 – Mr Pietro Tidei, the mayor of Santa Marinella (a city of 18 thousand inhabitants, by the sea, 60 km North from Rome), was sent to trial by the Court of Civitavecchia. The trial will begin on January 11th, 2024. He is accused of defaming, by his comments published on Facebook, the journalist Cristiano Adolfo Degni.
The reporter lives in the city and has sued him for the several denigrating comments about him and his reporting on the political events of the municipal administration,.
LEGAL AID -The Ossigeno Legal Aid Office, in collaboration with Media Defence, will be a civil party in this criminal trial, to protect press freedom and to support the journalist. The mayor publicly accused him of having committed unspecified serious incorrect actions and of unethical behaviour.
THE MAYOR’S POST – On 20th August 2022, on his Facebook page the mayor wrote the following : “It is truly sad to come across people such as Cristiano Degni who, taking advantage of their journalist card, instead of providing information use writing only for purely personal purposes and to vent their resentment due to profound dissatisfaction arising from repeated professional failures (…) Having never obtained positions, by virtue I suppose of his untrustworthiness, ready to offer himself to the highest bidder and claiming roles, perhaps even as press officer of the Municipality, which I felt should be held by competent and correct persons, this gentleman has asked for Legal Aid with Ossigeno as a civil party alongside Cristiano Degni to discredit the mayor…”. Tidei also added: “I believe the time has come to reveal, perhaps in the form of a public legal dispute, some events and behaviour regarding him, such as some of his requests for money…”.
THE JOURNALIST is legally assisted by the lawyer Marco Eller Vainicher of the Milan Bar. He reacted by suing the mayor for criminal defamation (libel committed with use of a public networking site).
“In my articles and on the blog www.perladeltirreno.com, Cristiano Degni observed, I have always and exclusively criticized Pietro Tidei on a political level, since his first mandate which began in 2007, defining his management of the municipal administration as authoritarian and inconclusive, based on the facts and respecting the rules of journalism”.
In 2018, when the mayor was re-elected, for a short period the journalist held the position of communications person for free, resigning because his proposals to establish more transparent relations with the citizens were not supported. However, Degni continued his information activity on municipal events on the blog www.degni.it.
THREATS – In particular, on the 30th August 2021 he published an article in which he rightly criticized the administrative activities of the previous month. the same day he received threatening phone calls following which he considered it prudent to reduce his presence on social media for a year. When he resumed his information activity, the mayor’s post appeared on his Facebook profile which led him to react with a defamation lawsuit.
AN UNWELCOME WORK – Cristiano Degni declared to Ossigeno: “In Santa Marinella, the town where I live and work, I cannot say that the municipal administration has a good relationship with the independent press; excluding independent journalists from the distribution lists of institutional communications, not inviting them to press conferences, preventing them from participating, and not answering questions are ways of isolating a journalist and, at the same time, of depriving citizens of hearing the facts from a different, alternative and non-conformable voice with respect to the only truth that the administration wants citizens to hear. It is necessary for the journalism profession to regain centrality and authority. Attempts to denigrate, discriminate, stigmatize and isolate journalists are continual and always come from those who oppose contradiction, from those who fear questions, from those who, in short, even if they have nothing to hide, are better at sowing doubts rather than demonstrating certainties . Information and truth are today the pillars on which every democratic system is based. Information helps us to know the truth and must not be conditioned in any way.”