Emiliano Fittipaldi, who works for left-wing day by day Domani, and his editor Stefano Feltri stand accused of distorting info in an article final yr which recommended Meloni had tried to assist a pal win a authorities contract throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Meloni, whose far-right Brothers of Italy occasion was in opposition on the time, rejected the declare and sued.
A choose in Rome dominated final week that the case ought to go to court docket, Fittipaldi mentioned. Meloni’s lawyer confirmed the date had been set for July 10, 2024.
“I solely reported true information,” Fittipaldi instructed AFP Tuesday, including that he and Domani would proceed to report on the federal government, together with on “thorny” points.
The choice to proceed to trial coincided with the opening day of a court docket case pitting Meloni towards investigative journalist and anti-mafia creator Roberto Saviano, who’s accused of defamation for an outburst over her stance on migrants.
Saviano, Fittipaldi and Feltri all resist three years in jail, if convicted.
Watchdogs say such trials are symbolic of a tradition in Italy through which public figures intimidate reporters with repeated lawsuits, threatening the erosion of a free press.
Fittipaldi, recognized for revelations of murky affairs throughout the Vatican, mentioned being sued “is the norm” for investigative journalists in Italy, and “fortunately I’ve at all times received”.
“However it’s the first time that I’ll go on trial towards a first-rate minister, who has a big energy in comparison with an opposition journalist,” he mentioned.
Meloni took situation with Fittipaldi’s article in Domani on an inquiry into the acquisition of masks by the federal government’s Covid-19 commissioner.
The paper mentioned commissioner Domenico Arcuri instructed investigators Meloni had been copied in on an emailed bid for the tender.
It reported Meloni had additionally referred to as Arcuri forward of the emailed bid, and mentioned she had “put in a superb phrase” for a pal.
In line with Domani, Meloni confirmed she had made a name however denied making an attempt to affect the bid.
Her authorized swimsuit towards Fittipaldi and Feltri accuses them of “scheming to reach at a deceptive and defamatory headline”, the paper mentioned.
The bid was made by Fabio Pietrella, a Brothers of Italy MP, it mentioned.
Meloni’s lawyer, Luca Libra, instructed AFP the trial “was an anticipated end result within the mild of an article skilfully constructed to advance defamatory and baseless allegations”.
In 2017, the newest out there information from the Nationwide Statistics Institute (ISTAT) confirmed almost 9,500 defamation proceedings had been initiated towards journalists in Italy.
Defamation by means of the media will be punished in Italy with jail sentences from six months to a few years.
However Italy’s Constitutional Courtroom urged lawmakers in 2020 and 2021 to rewrite the laws, saying jail time for such instances was unconstitutional and will solely be resorted to in instances of “distinctive severity”.