Valguarnera: Journalist sued over garbage

The town council considers defamatory a news story about the company that manages waste collection whose administrator is at the centre of a judicial inquiry.

On August 5th 2019, the municipal administration of Valguarnera Caropepe (EN) passed a resolution to bring a libel suit against the journalist, Arcangelo Santamaria, a collaborator of the newspaper “La Sicilia”, for an article published on June 9th 2019 in which Santamaria allegedly damaged the honour, the decorum and the reputation of the municipality. In the resolution the name of Arcangelo Santamaria is not there, but reference is made to the “author” of the text. A few days after the resolution, on 28th  August, the mayor Francesca Draià engaged a lawyer. It appears that the lawsuit will be addressed only to the journalist.

Arcangelo Santamaria has so far received no notification. He stated to  Ossigeno that he had never received any request for rectification from the municipal administration regarding that article.

WHAT HAD HE WRITTEN – The article in question concerns Progitec, the company that manages the collection of urban waste in the Municipality. Santamaria wrote that the mayor Draià should have ordered administrative checks on that company, whose managing director Angelo La Piana had been arrested in June during the judicial investigation called “Differenziata” and based on investigations by the financial police (Guardia di Finanza). The investigations concerned the awarding of the contract for the collection, street-sweeping and transport of waste in another municipality, San Pietro Clarenza, whose mayor was also arrested.

In his article Santamaria mentioned “alleged anomalies in the management of the service” carried out by the company in Valguarnera. Anomalies pointed out both by the inspection service of the ASP, the health agency of the province and by the opposition on the council.

The municipal administration considers these phrases as “suitable inferences to cast shadows on the management of the service”. Furthermore, the sentence in which the journalist hypothesises that the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Catania also collected information on waste management in Valguarnera, given that La Piana’s telephone had also been bugged.

THE BLOG – After the publication in the newspaper La Sicilia, the Santamaria article was republished in its entirety, but with another title (“the Progitec Affair , the similarities between the events of San Pietro Clarenza and Valguarnera”) on the blog Valguarnera.com, with which the journalist collaborates.

The municipal administration intends to sue the journalist for this re-publication and for a post he published on June 9th on his Facebook page.

RDM (wt)

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