Ossigeno provides legal defence to Italian reporter accused of violating privacy

Questo articolo è disponibile anche in: Italian

In 2017 Mauro D’Agostino published the pay checks of the executives of a textile company that had laid off hundreds of employees

Ossigeno has taken up  the legal defence of the journalist  Mauro D’Agostino in a criminal trial that will take place at the Court of Pescara and which is considered of strategic importance for the defence of press freedom. Mauro D’Agostino will be defended by the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, coordinator of the Free Legal Aid Office of Ossigeno.  He will conduct this case with the support of MLDI (Media Legal Defence Initiatives), the London-based NGO which is  committed at an international level to defend the freedom of the press and which since 2015 has financed the legal aid services of Ossigeno.

The trial of Mauro D’Agostino arose from a complaint by the leading men’s fashion company Brioni S.p.A. and Roman Style, which accuses Mauro D’Agostino of having committed the offence privacy violation and the disclosure of confidential matters with the publication, on June 7th  2017, of an article in the online newspaper CorriereQuotidiano.it. In particular, that article revealed  the pay-checks of the managers of the textile company, pointing out that their remuneration had increased by reason of bonuses  just in the period when the company was limiting the effects of a serious crisis by laying off hundreds of employees. .

This trial provides the opportunity to reaffirm that the right to report and criticize are such as to prevail over the interest of individuals in their own confidentiality.

Ossigeno believes that the revelations covered by that reporting, albeit in theory detrimental to the right to privacy, justify greater protection, because of the public interest in giving and receiving the news. In fact, the right to report when properly exercised in the public interest to inform citizens of current and socially relevant facts, permits the disclosure of information that should ordinarily remain confidential in a different context.

Furthermore, this trial help clarify some aspects still little known of the new European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has enlarged  the possibility of disclosing data without the consent of the interested party with innovations that strengthen the position of journalists.

Ossigeno already defends Mauro D’Agostino in a parallel criminal case for libel in which D’Agostino is accused of having damaged the reputation of Brioni through the publication of a investigative journalism consisting of a series of articles that described the on-going situation , especially from an employment point of view, with the advent of the new French owners of the Kering Group, among the world leaders in luxury goods.

In the face of investigative reporting, edited precisely by the editor of the online newspaper CorriereQuotidiano.it – ​​Mauro D’Agostino – on corporate travails and on the employment situation, Brioni filed two complaints in criminal proceedings against D’Agostino and filed a civil case against him, against the editor at the time Silvio Aparo and against the publisher of the online newspaper.

Both criminal trials against the reporter Mauro D’Agostino are now in the middle of the interrogatory phase. But the hearings, which should have been held during the month of May 2020, were postponed ex officio because of  the restrictive measures due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic.


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