A voice off screen urges the raping of a woman. The plaintiff claims that this libels him even if his name is not published – The publisher has nothing to say
by Oreste Vighi –
OSSIGENO May 27th 2022 – On May 8th 2019 in Rome, in the Casal Bruciato neighbourhood, the journalist Alessio Viscardi documented with an article and a video the protests of a group of people who demonstrated against the handover of public housing to a non-Italian family. The video and the article were published on the Fanpage online newsletter for which Alessio Viscardi worked.
A year later one of the people portrayed in the video, a militant from Casa Pound (an Italian neo-fascist movement and formerly a political party), filed a libel suit against the journalist who, not having obtained legal support from Fanpage, asked for help from the Free Legal Aid of Ossigeno per l’Informazione, who agreed to provide him with legal aid considering his case worthy of interest and general attention.
THE VIDEO shows scenes of vigorous protest against the new tenant family and of the police deployed to protect them. Protesters address insults and threats to both the new family and the police. A voice off screen even incites the rape of the woman who has been assigned social housing.
The plaintiff considers himself defamed by the inclusion of this incitement as though he had been referred to as the person who expressed it. The reporter objects that he has not mentioned the name of the person who uttered the phrase. The video merely shows that among the demonstrators there were militants from Casa Pound lined up next to the demonstrators.
THE REPORTER – By the time he was notified of the lawsuit, Alessio Viscardi had changed his job; he no longer worked for Fanpage. But because the disputed video and article had been posted by Fanpage he asked this publisher for legal aid to appoint a defence lawyer. Having received no response, he turned to the Ossigeno Free Legal Aid Department.
OSSIGENO believes that the lawsuit is reckless and therefore accepts Alessio Viscardi’s request for assistance. This journalist risks paying the costs and the consequences of a court action at his own expense which, although manifestly unfounded, initiates a criminal trial for libel in which he must formally defend himself from the accusations with the assistance of a defence lawyer.
Who has obtained legal aid from Ossigeno?