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France18 November 2005

Le Parisien journalist released but under investigation

Journalist Roberto Cristofoli was placed under investigation on 17 November 2005, for “misuse of an object owned by a public authority for the purposes of work” and for “collusion in violation of professional confidentiality”.

He was released from custody but put on probation.

A police officer, who is being held in custody for “violation of professional confidentiality and corruption”, allegedly provided the journalist on the daily Le Parisien with a device for the use of the security forces so he could listen to encrypted police radio frequencies, during recent rioting in France.

Three other people are also under investigation in the same case. Two of them are private detectives, one of whom is in custody, and an intermediary close to the Orange telephone company, who allegedly provided telephone call information.

16 November 2005

Journalist on Le Parisien has home and offices searched in new attack on protection of sources

Reporters Without Borders has voiced its support for a journalist on the regional daily Le Parisien who remains in custody after police searched his home and then the newspaper’s headquarters.

The worldwide press freedom organisation called on the judicial authorities to respect the right of Roberto Cristofoli to protect his sources, guaranteed under Article 109 of the criminal code and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

He is suspected of listening to encrypted police radio frequencies during the recent riots in France using a device given to him by police officers. Since the installation of the Acropol system for police and gendarmes, the frequencies are inaudible to anyone outside the security forces without the necessary device.

About a score of offices from the police disciplinary body, the Inspection générale des services (IGS) raided his home at 6am on 15 November 2005, on the orders of an examining magistrate at the Paris court.

They then went to Cristofoli’s office in Saint-Ouen where he works for the Hauts de Seine edition of Parisien/Aujourd’hui, and seized his computer hard disc and personal papers after a search lasting several hours.

“It is vital that French law should require the presence of a magistrate during a search of a journalist’s home, which is not the case at present,” said Reporters Without Borders.

Cristofoli is still being held in custody at the IGS offices. A colleague on the Parisien, who asked for anonymity, said that he was expected to go before a judge in the evening of 16 November or the following morning to be put under investigation for “breaking professional confidentiality”.

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