On April 21st 2020 the Order of Journalists will participate in the hearing at the Supreme Court debating a constitutional exception to prison sentencing in cases of libel
On April 21st. 2020, the National Council of the Order of Journalists (CNOG) will participate in the hearing concerning the constitutional legitimacy on the laws relating to defamation in the press. These laws envisage punishing the guilty with a fine or with imprisonment up to six years. Journalists and newspaper editors especially are caught up in this offence which appears to be inconsistent with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights adopted by the Italian Constitution, as the defence lawyers of some journalists have pointed out. As a result the Courts of Salerno and of Modugno have raised the constitutionality exception (https://www.ossigeno.info/imprisonment-for-libel-the-constitutional-court-given-the-responsibility/?lang=en)
The Supreme Court accepted with the order n.37 filed on February 26th 2020 (rapporteur Francesco Viganò) the request of the National Order of Journalists to participate in the discussion. The case will be discussed in a public hearing.
THE MOTIVATION – The request of participation of the National Order of Journalists has been accepted since it has the competence to decide on disciplinary appeals. The law establishes that convictions with a ban from public office automatically result in the cancellation or suspension of the journalist from the Register of journalists. Instead other penal sentences compel the CNOG to launch a disciplinary action whenever the conduct offends the decorum and the professional dignity or damages the reputation of the journalist or the dignity of the Order. Therefore a hypothetical penal sentence of the journalist and the chief editor accused in the proceedings would have specific consequences leading to the initiation of a disciplinary action which would come within the powers of the CNOG. These consequences would affect “in a direct and immediate way” the specific substantive legal relationship inferred in that judgment (that is the State’s punitive sentence against the accused).