With a decision intended to arouse reactions and controversy, the Supreme Court, in the context of a criminal trial for defamation and in the absence of specific legal regulations, confirmed the preventive seizure of the pages of the website of the well-known Mediaset broadcast ‘Le Iene’ in which were present the radio and television news reports aired on 9 and 23 June 2020 and then resumed online, concerning the virologist, immunologist, academic and scientific popularizer Professor Roberto Burioni. This was revealed in a note by Pierluigi Franz, President of the Chroniclers Romani Union. The Supreme Court has given the green light as it is not “a newspaper and does not have a responsible editor”. “The novelty of the Supreme Court’s ruling – explains Franz – consists in the fact that it has made a precise distinction between radio and television newspapers with a responsible director and network radio and television broadcasts with a delegate to control them: only the former – as a result of a well-known sentence issued six years ago by the joint criminal sections of the Supreme Court (no.31022 of 29 January 2015) – cannot be seized for the equation between traditional and web newspapers, while the latter, on the other hand, do not benefit from the same exemption from seizure of printed publications, nor does the presence of a ‘delegate’ to control the broadcasts count for nothing, which cannot be equated with a director in charge “. But” the one that makes more discussion of the sentence of the 5th criminal section of the Cassation n. 20645 of May 24, 2021 (President Gerardo Sabeone, rapporteur Alessandrina Tudino) is certainly the fact that “on the basis of the In fact, not only the defamatory sentences can be seized in this way, but also those parts of the service, which even reconstructed, without having any defamatory efficacy in themselves, a context characterized by a strong controversy in the scientific field “, continues the trade unionist. Therefore, “the ordered and confirmed seizure can also concretely concern parts of the service that could be considered non-defamatory. Consequently it could represent a gag to the freedom of expression and information protected by art. 21 of the Constitution and by the art. 10 of the ECHR – European Convention on Human Rights for possible negative repercussions on investigative journalism or on reporting or investigative television broadcasting services “. Therefore, according to Franz, “it cannot be excluded that this delicate case, waiting for Parliament to finally approve a system law on defamation, will end up before the Strasbourg Court precisely because of the general implications that may arise from it”. These are the facts reported. On 19 December 2020, in the context of a criminal proceeding for aggravated defamation against the journalist and journalist of ‘Le iene’ Alessandro Politi, accused of having damaged the reputation of Professor Roberto Burioni, the Judge of the preliminary investigations of the Court of Milan ordered the preventive seizure of the website www.iene.mediaset.it limited to the pages where the television services broadcast on 9 and 23 June 2020 concerning the virologist were still present. “This is because, in the services cited, his reputation would have been offended as the presence of an economic interest connected to the scientific opinions expressed in popular contexts in favor of the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies in therapies against Covid-19 was falsely indicated. and the research or consultancy activity carried out on monoclonal antibodies in relation to different viruses “, explains Franz.” In this way the false message was conveyed according to which the scientific opinions of the injured person on the subject of Covid-19 would be oriented by occult economics interests”. On January 22, the Milan Review Court confirmed the decree of the investigating magistrate and now the Cassation, following a compliant written indictment by the Deputy Attorney General of the Republic at this Court of Cassation Lucia Odello, ratified it by condemning the journalist of ‘Le iene’ Alessandro Politi to pay court costs.
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