Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trio of Italian Journalists Jailed for Criminal Libel

ChietiImage via WikipediaTwo reporters for Il Centro, an Italian daily newspaper, and the paper's former editor, were convicted of criminal libel and jailed, according to the International Press Institute (IPI).

Walter Nerone and Claudio Lattanzio each received one-year jail terms, and former editor Luigi Vicinanza eight months in jail after a court in Chieti, Italy, found the three men defamed Franco La Civita, the former Mayor of  Sulmona, by writing in 2007 that he allegedly was being investigated concerning purported overseas bank accounts in his name. The court considered the allegations unfounded and further ordered the journalists to compensate La Civita 12,000 euros ($17,253).

Journalism organizations, including the Italian National Press Federation and the Journalists' Syndicate in Abruzzo,  were quick to condemn the "chilling effect" on free speech by the jailing of the reporters.
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