The trial in Rome opened Tuesday 15 November, against Roberto Saviano accused of defamation against the current Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Saviano is the author of Gomorrah and Zero, Zero, Zero. In his works he uses literature and investigative reporting to tell of the economic reality of the territory and business of organised crime in Italy.
This particular story dates back to December 2020, when as a guest in the studio of the Piazzapulita broadcast on La7, Saviano lashed out against those who carry out anti-immigration campaigns. At the time, he compared the failure to rescue at sea as an ambulance that does not intervene for the injured in the street and used the appellation”bastards” , referring to Giorgia Meloni , then Member of Parliament of the Brothers of Italy and Matteo Salvini.
During the first hearing, Saviano said, “I am the person most tried by this government.”
Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi and his predecessors at the Viminale Salvini and Marco Minniti , as well as Senator Maurizio Gasparri , are some of the witnesses cited by Saviano’s defence, represented by lawyer Antonio Nobile.
“Most prosecuted by this government”
“Today I find myself in court,” says Saviano before the court, “and I think it is strange that a writer is tried for the words he spends, however harsh they are, while defenseless individuals continue to suffer atrocious violence.
“I think I have the record of journalist, personality, individual most prosecuted by this government ” adds Saviano leaving Piazzale Clodio. He declared “Matteo Salvini has presented a request to be a civil party in this process”.
Saviano read a statement to the press, which he had wished to present to the judge. “I was not allowed to make spontaneous declarations. I am confident that we can finally exorcise the most insidious of fears and that is that having an opinion contrary to the majority means having an unlawful opinion; and therefore having a problem with the majority of this government means having a problem with justice. This would be very serious and would confirm a hypothesis that this political majority wants to lead us towards a democracy.
“The accusation is that of having exceeded the containment , the legitimate perimeter, the very thin line that demarcates the possible invective from what is called defamation here.
“The word is my tool”
“I am a writer: my tool is the word . I try, with the word, to persuade, to convince, to activate. I am a writer and therefore, having gained freedom of speech before any other. I am determined to preside over it. I have always chosen to defend my words with my body in a different way than many parliamentarians do, who used the shield of immunity when they needed to protect themselves from justice: I made the opposite choice, I chose to expose my body and my words by denying myself the possibility of a secure shelter, of taking refuge in a free zone between the law and the individual: because I still delude myself, perhaps naively, that one should not protect oneself from justice, but that it itself is a guarantee of protection”.
“Faced with the dead, with drowning, with indifference, with speculation, with that mother who lost her child, I couldn’t keep silent – – explains Saviano – And I feel that I have used even too cautious words , that I have even cried sparingly”.