Ossigeno gratuity for legal costs to Marilù Mastrogiovanni

A contribution to her legal expenses to defend herself in court from the summons for damages from a company in the waste disposal sector

The Free Legal Aid Office of Ossigeno (see here) which works in collaboration with Media Defence, has awarded a cash contribution to cover legal expenses to the journalist Marilù Mastrogiovanni, editor-in-chief of the online newspaper Il Tacco d’Italia. The journalist recounts the background in this text written for Ossigeno

OSSIGENO November 7th  2022 – by Marilù Mastrogiovanni – Ossigeno per l’Informazione has always been close to my newspaper and to me, as a person and as a journalist, always showing great attention and sensitivity. I thank Ossigeno for this and for having now given me a contribution to the legal costs incurred in defending myself against the civil lawsuit of a waste-disposal company, Vibeco srl, which is asking for damages of 30,000 euro.

It is a large company that won a public tender to dispose in Bulgaria  shipments of waste from the Campania Region.

Vibeco, through its lawyer, first asked me to remove the article published by Il Tacco d’Italia without disputing  anything on its merits.

I refused, as the removal of an article is equivalent to self-censorship, but I remained available to accommodate any corrections or replies. However the Vibeco company did not exercise its right of reply or of rectification.

Then I was called before a mediation  body. I did not turn up  as I had nothing to mediate: it is a matter of principle.

I am willing to go all the way to defend the right of online newspapers not to have to remove articles, exercising their right to maintain and manage their own archives. The company also asked me to de-index the article, i.e., remove an already indexed url, listed in on-line search results. But this is done by Google, not by the individual journalist or the newspaper.

The article that I am being challenged about is an investigation published by Bivol, a very serious Bulgarian investigative newspaper which collaborates with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an international investigative journalism network.

Il Tacco d’Italia, of which I am the editor, in 2020 translated into Italian and published Bivol’s investigation, which cites and publishes its own documentary sources. We in turn cited the Bivol investigation and its sources.

At this link you can read the investigation translated by Il Tacco

The sources are all cited and also published, so that, for each statement, there is online confirmation of the documents.

In my modest opinion, this is an issue of international importance. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), precisely with regard to the right to be forgotten, provides for some exemptions  for newspapers and journalists. So I am not doing it to guarantee my own personal right, but because I want to defend article 21 of the Constitution, article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 10 of the European Convention on the Rights of the Person. Marilu Mastrogiovanni


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