(07/09/2022 – Leipzig, Germany) The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)’s Legal Affairs Committee has agreed to provide €10,000 in legal support to Antonella Napoli, a freelance Italian journalist, as she continues an almost 25 year long legal battle which dates back to 1998.
In 1998, a criminal case against Napoli was initiated following a complaint by Alessandro Fedullo, a judge of the Regional Administrative Court over two articles detailing Fedullo’s involvement in secretive abortions. In 2006, Fedullo initiated a joint civil claim for compensation of damages in the case of conviction. One year later, the criminal case ended when the Court of Naples ruled the length of the proceedings had extinguished the liability.
Despite the 2007 ruling, the civil proceedings remain on-going today. Since Fedullo’s death in 2011, his family members have continued the legal proceedings. Fedullo’s representatives are seeking compensation for pecuniary, non-pecuniary, and moral damages quantified at a total of €100,000.
Napoli’s case is emblematic of the use of abusive lawsuits by powerful individuals to silence critical reporting and hamper media freedom. Moving forward, ECPMF will continue to closely monitor Napoli’s case as it progresses. ECPMF’s Senior Legal Advisor, Flutura Kusari, said:
This legal support for Napoli is part of a comprehensive ECPMF programme which assists journalists facing legal issues such as defamation lawsuits, problems with access to public documents, and attempts to undermine the protection of sources and whistleblowers. Varying from case to case, support can consist of general guidance, access to specific legal advice, external assistance, access to expertise in policy and law making, and engagement in national or international litigation (directly or indirectly). Support is also available for pre-publication legal review. More information about how journalists, bloggers, activists, free speech advocates, NGOs, media outlets, and whistleblowers can receive legal support from ECPMF is available here.