Two libel claims by an aggrieved Italian prosecutor against a Guardian journalist have been flagged as potential acts of state “harassment and intimidation” on an alert system run by Europe’s leading government-backed human rights organisation, the Council of Europe.
Calogero Ferrara, a prosecutor in Palermo, filed the defamation suits in 2019 against the journalist Lorenzo Tondo over a Facebook post and a series of allegedly inaccurate articles published by the Guardian. A first hearing of one of the libel cases has now been set for February 2022.
It is claimed in an alert posted on the Council of Europe “safety platform” by the European federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists that the lawsuits will in effect prevent Tondo from carrying out his reporting duties. The Italian government is yet to respond to the alert.
According to the Council of Europe, a postwar organisation of which 47 member state governments are signatories, the “safety of journalists” platform reports on “serious threats to the safety of journalists and media freedom in Europe in order to reinforce the Council of Europe’s response to the threats and member states’ accountability”. Continue