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Role of A&E Television Network’s Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy

amanda knox

February 2011:  Attorneys Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luca Maori formally demanded that A&E Television Networks halt production and refrain from releasing a Lifetime Television film about the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. The pair were convicted in 2009 of the murder and sexual assault of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy on Nov. 1, 2007.

Their lawyers threatened to seek an injunction if necessary. One would imagine that they were not so well versed in US law, for an injunction would have been next to impossible. But the threat and world-wide publication of the issue reportedly had an effect.

Hopefully researchers will one day study this episode and find out exactly what effect it had and what effect the airing of the film had, to give us some sense of their intent. As an analyst of media culture, celebrity privacy and international laws regarding public figures, I watched the movie, with all of this background in the forefront of my mind, but just a few months prior to Knox’s exoneration. I, therefore, lack the in-the-moment-reflection that may have been useful for this note.

For the record: I disagreed with airing the film in 2011.

Sensationalism aside:

1. There were grieving parents on both side of the aisle. The reenactment of a gruesome murder scene was more than I could bare, one can only imagine what Meredith Kercher’s parents must have felt knowing that the whole of their daughter’s life and final moment of her death would soon be on display for the whole world to judge. Amanda Knox’s parent were held captive by the same tabloid machine with the added burden of having their own lives under scrutiny as they tried to protect their daughter and family.

2. World-wide citizens’ right to a fair trial and appeal is the touchstone of democracy.  They were sentenced to 25 years in prison.

When television networks undertake production with some mixing and matching of the skills of documentarians, investigative journalists and tabloid publishers, in an untimely film about the ongoing struggles in the lives of real people, there’s a problem.

What were they thinking? Why not issue an injunction under such circumstances? Supporters of the movie believe it showed Knox’s innocence, revealed an inept investigation, flawed evidence and suggested a sort of anti-American zeal on the part of Italian officials. Lawyers for the network would argue that the public has a right to know what is happening with our students and citizens abroad. I certainly had plenty to say to my own daughter after watching the film. So then we are left with timing, what about the timing?

September 2015: Rome: Italy’s highest court threw out a conviction of American Amanda Knox for the 2007 murder of her British flat mate because of “glaring errors” in the case against her.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/amanda-knox-murder-conviction-a-result-of-glaring-errors-court-20150907-gjhaef.html#ixzz3l88qJcYl


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