IFJ Calls for Reform of Italian Defamation Laws

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined its Italian affiliate, the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI), in calling for the Italian Parliament to reform the country's defamation law so that journalists do not face prison sentences in such cases.

The call follows yesterday's announcement by Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, that journalists cannot be imprisoned for defamation without "exceptional circumstances," noting that their role as "public watchdog" would be otherwise put in jeopardy. The court underlined that the decision is in line with the European Court of Human Rights.

A number of journalists have been sentenced to jail for defamation in Italy in recent years.

"The court's positive decision conveys the need for Italian MPs to quickly reform Italy's defamation law so it is line with the stance of the Italian and European courts and the right to freedom of expression is upheld," said FNSI General Secretary, Franco Siddi.

The IFJ has given its full backing to its affiliate and urged Italian MP's to take further steps to support media freedom in the country. 

"We join our colleagues at the FNSI in demanding that the members of the Italian Parliament take immediate action to reform this archaic defamation law which undermines press freedom in the country," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

"Furthermore, we also joined the FSNI to call for a comprehensive reform in Italian law in support of press freedom and the right to access and share information."

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries