New regulations for civil society as threats continue against Italy's journalists

Association

On 18th June, a law reforming the third sector was passed, giving the government a mandate to re-organise and simplify the sector’s regulatory framework. The law revises civil code provisions concerning associations, foundations and other private not-for-profit institutions, including the simplification of the procedure for the recognition of legal personality. The law also introduces a Third Sector Code, where the development of a single register is included. The reorganisation of tax relief and economic support measures for third sector organisations is also proposed. Other reform measures include the establishment of a National Council of the Third Sector, as part of the revision of the legislation on volunteering work and social enterprises. The government has until June 2017 to adopt the legislative decrees needed to implement the reform law.

Expression

Ossigeno per l’Informazione, an observatory that monitors cases of violence against journalists and other free expression limitations, reported that in the first half of 2016, 147 media professionals were threatened, mainly by criminal organisations and political extremists. This compares to a total of 521 journalists threatened in 2015.

Around 40 of those cases occurred in May and June, and included defamation lawsuits, attacks on physical safety and integrity, insults, death threats, intimidation via social networks and obstructed access to information. Threats were made by unknown individuals, politicians, football fans and criminal organisations. The observatory also reports on the case of Pasquale Clemente, current editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Roma”, who had been sued by a former judge and senator for an article published in 2010. On 3rd June he was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 1,500 Euro by the criminal court in Naples. The journalist is appealing the sentence.