EFJ Supports Italian journalists in its advocacy for a decent draft law on defamation

A proposed libel

law introduced in Italy's Upper House last week stirred up a frenzy of protest

among journalists and the EFJ's affiliate, the Federazione della Stampa Italiana (FNSI)

The latest draft

proposal, which will be discussed in the Senate next week, seeks to eliminate

jail terms in cases of libel, however replacing them with - among others -

hefty fines and the right of the offended party to immediately get his or her

side of the story out in the accused publication free from any editorial


"It is not good

to have a bad  law  which includes the risk of putting journalists

to go to prison", said Arne König, EFJ President. "But neither it is acceptable

to propose a new law, which intimidates media, especially small media and may

force journalists to self-censorship; and this in particular in times of crisis

is a clear threat to the free press and democracy".  

Referring to the

heavy fines and damages publications could incur in libel cases under the

proposed new law, Roberto Natale, President of the FNSI and member of the EFJ

Steering Committee, said: "Today these norms are absurd and dangerous as

they can condition the survival of many newspapers and reveal an absolute

disdain for press freedom. It is to be hoped that the (parliamentary) debate

will radically alter it". 

At the occasion of the meeting of its Executive Committee, the International Federation of Journalists also adopted a motion against this draft law.

According to the

proposed law, fines of between 5,000 and 100,000 euros can be awarded to anyone

who has won a libel case. 
The FNSI has

called 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, Monday, 29 October, at 17.00h on the Piazza del Pantheon.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 00
The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists

The EFJ represents over 300,000 journalists in 30 countries