Journalists to strike on Monday over new libel law

'Seriously limits independence of information', union says

Journalists to strike on Monday over new libel law

Rome, November 22 - Italian journalists will strike on Monday in protest over a new libel law currently before parliament, the national journalists' union said on Thursday. The protest involves all news media professionals and is in opposition to the so-called 'Sallusti bill' which ''seriously limits the independence of information,'' said Franco Siddi, secretary of the National Press Federation. The provision was supposed to remove jail terms as a possible sanction for libel and raise fines following the uproar caused by the decision of Italy's supreme Court of Cassation to uphold a 14-month prison term for newspaper editor Alessandro Sallusti found guilty of printing libellous remarks made by an anonymous reader about Italian judge Giuseppe Cocilovo in 'Libero', the right-wing paper he edited in 2007. However on Thursday the Senate, Italy's upper house, approved an amendment retaining prison terms of up to one year for journalists but replacing these with a fine of up to 50,000 euros for editors, sparking the latest protests.

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