Italian libel by social media: an outline
Generally speaking, social media are perceived as public squares where individuals may socialise, discuss, and exchange opinion. In this context, it is possible that individuals decide to post aggressive, offensive, or defamatory comments. Such conduct brings several consequence especially defamation law. In addition, such offence is typical within separation and divorce contexts where former partners have mutual resentment with each other.
In Italy, freedom of expression principle applies. However, such freedom is not absolute but, on the contrary, it meets some limitations. For instance, whoever causes damages to reputation and personal dignity is found guilty of offence and defamation offence. For instance, the woman who derides the former husband is liable for defamation offences. Equally, the husband who addresses the former wife as a “parasite” is also liable for offence defamation.
According to art. 595. Criminal Code, whoever intentionally causes damage to somebody else’s reputation is guilty of defamation charges. The offence is aggravated in the event the offence is caused through the printing or any other advertising mean. Subsequently, the offence published on Facebook is an aggravated defamation offence. The same consequence applies in case of any comment or statement that is visible to more than two different individuals.
Another aspect of Italian defamation offence is the identity of the offended person. In fact, it is wrongly considered that a defamation offence is triggered only when the identity of the offended person are revealed. In reality, you can have defamation offence even in case where there was no identifiable elements (Name or surname) are revealed. In fact, in order to trigger the defamation offence, you only need that the offended person is easily identifiable from the context.
In such cases, VGS lawyers professionals suggest to issue a formal complaint against the author within three months of the offence. We also suggest to make tangible evidence of the offences by printing them and proceed with a formal notary authentication. Should you need any advise on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.