Insider to appeal after Bocconi professor libel conviction

 ROME -- Italian Insider will appeal the verdict in a libel case brought by Bocconi University professor Vicenzo Morabito after the Rome Tribunal ordered Insider Editor John Phillips to pay the litigious academic 5,000 euros in advance civil damages over an article describing Morabito's business interests in Calabria.

 Judge Mara Ferrara ruled that Phillips was guilty of defaming Morabito and sentenced him to pay a fine of 4000 euros as well as legal costs of some 2000 euros. Libel is still a criminal offense in Italy based on archaic laws dating to Fascist times and journalists in theory can be sent to prison for defamation. Libel was decriminalised in the UK in 2009.  
 The campaigning Fatto Quotidiano newspaper also is appealing a conviction for an earlier article about Morabito that was the basis for the Italian Insider article about the Calabrian academic, who has a criminal record for an extortion conviction in his youth.
Il Fatto disclosed that a company in Calabria belonging to Morabito has a business partner who is a nephew of a Calabrian Mafia boss. The company was the subject of an informal inquiry by the Carabinieri but neither Morabito nor his business partner formally were placed under investigation.
 Morabito's lawyer claimed that his business was severely damaged by the media coverage and asked the judge to award 20,000 euros in advance civil damages.