Controversy is building
around a proposed libel law in Italy after an amendment was passed by the
Italian senate that could send reporters to jail but would let editors off with
The FNSI, the European
Federation of Journalists’ affiliate in Italy, has today called on journalists
to join a day of protests and mobilisation. Together with the Italian
Publishers Federation (FIEG) the FNSI has signed an urgent appeal
to the Parliament and to all political groups to reject this draft law and to
“We reiterate our request to
the Italian parliament to reverse the bill and to decriminalize defamation in
Italy in order to preserve media freedom,” said EFJ President Arne König. “The
EFJ completely supports the latest appeal of both publishers’ and journalists’
organisations who are campaigning against disproportionate rules that could
seriously limit a journalist’s right to report.”
“Such important legislation
should be discussed with all stakeholders, including journalists, publishers
and civil society in a transparent matter”, he added.
The latest proposal for the
law foresees only economic sanctions for directors or media organisations, but
it provides for the possibility for reporters to potentially be imprisoned. “It
cannot be that journalists who have less power over publishing decisions are
risking more than the editors who have more power,” said König.
The debate over Italy's
already severe defamation penalties was ignited in September when Alessandro
Sallusti, editor-in-chief of the newspaper owned by the brother of Silvio
Berlusconi, was sentenced to 14 months in prison for a libellous article
printed in 2007, when he was in charge of another newspaper.
The FNSI has called on
journalists and citizens to mobilise against this dangerous “test of reform of
the law on defamation” in front of the Senate. The FNSI called for a
demonstration today, 26 November at 17.00h on the piazza del pantheon to stand
for “the dignity of the person, autonomy and responsibility, the right to know
and pluralism of information.”
The EFJ campaigns for the
decriminalisation of defamation throughout Europe.
More information on the website of the FNSI:
The EFJ is the European group of the
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and represents about 310.000
journalists in over 30 countries.
For more information, please contact the
EFJ at +32 2 235.2200