Defamation under Italian Law

Italian Criminal Code regulates the crime of defamation as an act that brings offence to reputation or the honour of the offended individual. Nowadays, defamation is acquiring wider importance due to social media presence and their capacity to bring a defamatory message to hundreds of thousands of people. Furthermore, in the context of domestic life, spouses’ defamation conducts may involve serious economic consequences. 

Art. 595 Criminal Code punishes any individual who brings offence to the reputation or honour of a person who is not present. In particular, sanctions can reach up to 3 years imprison and €2.000 fine. However, in order to classify a defamatory behaviour as a defamation offence, the conduct must be characterised by the following essential elements:

  1. The conducts cause offence to the reputation of an individual;
  2. The defamatory conduct must take place in the absence of the person concerned;
  3. The defamation must be communicated to several people.

It appears important to highlight that the range of expressions that can be included within the defamatory offence is wide and general. In fact, the Supreme Court has affirmed that the posting of defaulting owners’ name on a main entrance building constitute defamation crime (Sentence N. 39986/2014)

As it was previously mentioned, defamation conducts on the Internet may constitute the aggravating of the offence. In fact, the Sentence N. 4873/2017 has recognised Facebook social network as a mean of dissemination of news. Then, an offence posted on a Facebook wall may aggravate the punishment for defamation conducts. 

Defamation between ex-partners 

It is sadly common that former spouses or partners, after an intense relationship, decides to take revenge carrying out defamatory conducts. In this case, it is important that the victim is able to defend his/her rights. Under this circumstance, the individual who decides to disclose personal and intimate facts of his/her ex-partner may commit two different criminal offences.

Defamation – The victim may file a complaint if:

  1. His/her honour or reputation has been damaged by ex-partner declarations;
  2. The defamatory conducts took place in his/her absence;
  3. The defamatory conducts have been communicated to several (more than two) people.

Data Protection Breach 

In lack of one of the main defamation requirements, the victim may ask for a robust compensation due to the breach of his privacy. In fact, unauthorised disclosure of sensitive information like sexual life, religious beliefs or health information may trigger the compensation.

VGS Family Lawyers have demonstrated their expertise in defamation between spouses or partners having particular regard in stop these conducts and protect the victim. 

VSG family lawyers are aware that defamation between former partners is a delicate issue that involves the possible misuse of private information with the aim of destroying former-partner’s life as a revenge attempt. For this reason, VGS Lawyers take these cases seriously providing victims with the protection they need.

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