The Concita De Gregorio Case/1 Facing justice without the publisher

The journalist, former chief editor of l’Unita is a victim and a living demonstration of a serious problem revealed in 2015 and still unresolved which afflicts all Italian journalists.

The financial crisis of the daily newspaper, l’Unita, culminating in its cessation, has created serious problems for journalists who, besides work, have lost the protective umbrella of the payment to them of legal expenses by their publishers if they are the subject of lawsuits or civil action for defamation. Since then these journalists have had to pay those expenses out of their own pocket. And they have discovered in the case of sentencing they have also to bear the share of damages which should have been borne by the publisher.

In this awkward situation they have learned that several clauses giving them essential guarantees are missing from Italian legislation. In effect, if an editor in financial difficulties requests the preventive agreement and hands over to others he neither has to honour those costs nor transfer them to the new publisher. And thus these financial obligations are put on the shoulders of the journalists. This was discovered in 2015. Nobody has yet rectified this omission: a sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of all journalists. Concita De Gregorio is the demonstration of this problem.

She has faced up to the situation and took it all upon herself. Only on one occasion, on the 26th October 2016 at an Ossigeno conference, she spoke publicly of her ordeal. She spoke about it in the major conference hall of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Rome during professional training organised by Ossigeno per l’Informazione at which hundreds of journalists attended. She made public the strong economic pressure to which she and her family were subject since 2012. She said: I have to face tens of lawsuits for defamation; demands for compensation for 5 million euro, each month I have to pay for every month for the provisional payments for convictions of first instance, my house and income are foreclosed because of the old lawsuits brought against l’Unita when I was still chief editor (read here).

On the 3rd July 2012 in Ferrara she revealed that whilst she edited l’Unita she had experienced threats. Ossigeno on several occasions has taken up her professional ordeal.

ASP

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