Private, insulting tweet gets Italian senator sued

Economics researcher relayed the message publicly on Twitter and subsequently lodged a complaint

A right-wing senator stands to make legal history in Italy when he becomes the first person to be prosecuted for insulting another person on Twitter.

Maurizio Gasparri, a senator with Silvio Berlusconi's conservative Forza Italia party, is well known for his polemical verve and has earned the title of "cyber-bully" for his vigorous use of social media.

In August 2013 he was drawn into a Twitter debate about the political and economic record of former President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and saw red after one of the other participants recalled a gaffe in which Gasparri allegedly revealed his ignorance of the banking sector.

Gasparri responded with a private tweet that could be translated as: "Arrogant ignoramus you make me vomit."

The recipient of the message was Riccardo Puglisi, an economics researcher at the University of Pavia.

Puglisi relayed the message publicly on Twitter and subsequently lodged a complaint with the Justice of the Peace in his home city.

Gasparri is due to appear before the magistrate in Pavia on Sept. 21, accused of violating a law that punishes anyone who "offends the honor or decorum of a person who is present, or via telegraphic or telephone communication."

The crime is punished by up to six months imprisonment or a €516 (US$562) fine.

There have been several cases in Italy where people have been sued for defamation for messages published on Facebook and Twitter but this is the first time someone is to be prosecuted for a private message on Twitter.

In another case from 2013 the journalist Gianni Riotta was threatened with a defamation lawsuit for retweeting a critical article in another newspaper about a lawmaker from the Five Star Movement.

Gasparri dismissed the case as ridiculous and said he didn't expect the judicial authorities in Pavia to take it forward.

If they did, he told the Corriere della Sera newspaper, he would review the large number of insults he had received himself and consider taking action against those responsible for them. "I could have an income for life from all the insults I have received," he said.

Puglisi was unwilling to be drawn on the case, but told an online publication: "Mine is a very limited thing. But I believe one has the right not to be insulted."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags social mediainternetlegaltwitterInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Philip Willan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?