Mauro’s Appearance on Italy’s Quinta Colonna TV Show 2015
Mauro Merlino’s release of a Youtube Video expressing his opinions in 2012 of the giant tax office Equitalia would come to haunt him. The 40 second video where he suggested that Equitalia incites suicide landed him a libel lawsuit signed by former President Attilo Befera. Mauro made this video as freedom of expression and opinion, due to the dissatisfaction with the Italian based tax office who is known for exorbitant tax rates, compounded penalties and interest, and strict collection guidelines. Equitalia protests happen all over Italy often, and horror stories are on the web of housewives turned escort and people taking their own lives from the stress of it all.
Pic : FreedomPress , Link Below
The case would then drag out for several years but Mauro would use hunger strikes and protests (sometimes with a Guy Fawkes mask, or setting a coffin on fire and with ladies mooning the camera) to gain attention and media coverage. Mauro, being unemployed, did not sit and wallow, instead he choose to live and fight back and use social media as a networking platform. This gave him a large network of support all over Italy. His “I will sell my Kidney to pay the tax office” went viral as well. He was invited onto the show Quinta Colonna, and later MediaSet Studios would make a mini series of the ordeal. Mauro was found not guilty in 2016 . Although frustrating, the case was essential for setting a precedent on freedom of speech and opinion in Italy.
Here are just a small except of articles:
Victory After Accusing Equitalia for Incitement to Suicide Freedom Press July 2, 2016 (2 Lugio 2016)
Fioriano Today June 29, 2016 (29 Guigno 2016)
Not Guilty of Defamation! Qui Tv June 26, 2016 (26 Giugno 2016)
Against Equitalia Gazetta Modena June 8, 2016 (8 Maggio 2016)
Taxpayer Sued for Videos Striscia La notzia Mediaset May 26, 2016 (26 Maggio 2016)
So I Brought Befera in Court Il Giounale March 29, 2016 (29 Marzo 2016)
Mauro Merlino in Handcuffs in Piazza Mazzini Modena Today March 28, 2016 (28 Marzo, 2016)
I Sell a Kidney to Pay Taxes the Shock of Unemployed Man Gazetta Modena September 4, 2015 (4 Septembre 2015)