October 10th, 2016
Blog: Charlie Hebdo insult case highlights weaknesses of Italian defamation law Standards of taste aside, charges brought by earthquake-hit town raise issues for freedom of expression
A lawyer for the Italian town of Amatrice, where nearly 300 people died in an earthquake in August, announced last week that the town would file criminal defamation charges against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Earlier this month the magazine “commented” on the earthquake with two cartoons, the first of which crudely depicted victims as different types of pasta. The second, in response to understandable outrage over the first cartoon, read: “Italians, it’s not Charlie Hebdo who built your houses, it’s the mafia!”
Greek journalist’s libel conviction overturned on appeal Encouraging move should be followed up by repeal of criminal libel laws, IPI says
The International Press Institute (IPI) today welcomed an appeals court ruling overturning the criminal conviction of a prominent Greek investigative journalist for defamation.A three-judge panel of the Athens Court of Appeal on Monday unanimously threw out the conviction of Kostas Vaxevanis, editor of the investigative magazine HotDoc. A lower court sentenced him to 26 months in prison for defamation in March 2015.
How €3 million libel suit led a Greek journalist to fight for legal change 'No other colleague of mine will have to suffer the same nightmare that I went through'
One can only imagine the feeling of satisfaction and vindication that Greek journalist Dimitris Hortargias must have felt on Dec. 22, 2015, when lawmakers overwhelmingly approved critical reforms to Greece’s Press Law, widely known then as the “press killer”.
“All I was thinking on that day was that no other colleague of mine will have to suffer the same nightmare that I went through,” Hortargias said in a recent interview with the International Press Institute (IPI).
Greek editor sentenced for criticising school director’s extremist views Stratis Balaskas: “I am really worried that this sentence will prohibit other journalists from writing freely”
“There is no worse thing for a journalist than to sit in a courtroom and hear that he has been sentenced to prison for doing his job,” Greek journalist Stratis Balaskas recounts.
Nearly two months ago, on July 11, Balaskas found himself exactly in this position after the Northern Aegean Court of Appeals confirmed a guilty verdict against him for insult and sentenced him to three months’ imprisonment.