December 19, 2023

19.12.2023 – Legal Threats Against Italian Newspaper Raise Concerns Over Press Freedom

On 12 December 2023, a state representative through his lawyer issued a formal notice to the Italian Domani newspaper (, demanding 200,000 EUR in damages for eight allegedly defamatory articles published between February and November 2023. He also sought the removal of these articles, forbidding the newspaper from publishing new pieces on the same topic and warning of an additional 500 EUR in damages for each day of delay.

Only half a year ago, in March 2023 a state representative filed a criminal complaint for defamation against Domani, following an article written by journalists Giovanni Tizian and Nello Trocchia. The police visited the editorial office in Rome and seized print copies of such article.

In November 2022 Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni requested damages with an interim compensation of 25,000 EUR from the newspaper Domani. In the same months the public prosecutor decided to open a criminal defamation trial, which should begin in July 2024.

In October 2023 a Criminal Court convicted journalist Roberto Saviano of criminal defamation. The case was initiated by Meloni in November 2021, prior to her assuming her current role of Prime Minister. According to the court decision Saviano hast to pay a fine of 1,000 EUR and 2,600 EUR of legal expenses. Additional a compensation for civil claims of the plaintiff will be determined by a civil court.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is monitoring the cases connected to the newspaper Domani and of other media and journalists in Italy. Journalists must be allowed in Italy to carry out their duties without fear of legal intimidation. SEEMO urges a fair and balanced legal environment that upholds freedom of the press and protects journalists from undue interference. SEEMO is also asking the Italian authorities to change the criminal defamation law and to bring Italian legislation in line with international standards. Additional under article 13 on the Law of the Press no. 47/1948, penalties may be in form of an imprisonment to maximum six years. In 2021, the constitutional court ruled that Article 13 of the Law of the Press was unconstitutional.

Domani is a Italian newspaper, founded in 2020.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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