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Italian court upholds fines on Vatican Radio for excess electromagnetic emissions

Catholic World News - February 25, 2011

Italy’s highest court has confirmed a judgment against Vatican Radio for violating legal standards governing the emission of electromagnetic radiation.

The court upheld a decision requiring Vatican Radio to pay damages to the town of Cesano, located near the broadcaster’s transmission facility outside Rome. However, the court also overturned a criminal conviction and 10-day suspended sentence that a lower court had imposed on Cardinal Roberto Tucci, the former chairman of the Vatican Radio board.

The case against Vatican Radio became a hot political topic in 2001, when local authorities in the area of Santa Maria in Galeria, on the outskirts of Rome, charged that electromagnetic impulses from the main Vatican Radio broadcasting antenna there were causing an elevated incidence of leukemia in the neighborhood. Although authorities could not demonstrate any scientific link between the disease and the radio transmissions, prosecutors charged that Vatican Radio was exceeding the legal limits for electromagnetic emissions.

In their defense against the charges, Vatican Radio officials also pointed out that the broadcast facility had been in line with European standards regarding electromagnetic emissions. At the time Italy had only recently adopted more stringent standards.

After negotiations with the government and changes to the broadcast equipment, Vatican Radio announced later in 2001 that it was now fully compliant with the new Italian standards for emissions.

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