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France



-  Area : 551,500 sq.km.
-  Population : 60,496,000.
-  Language : French.
-  Head of state : Jacques Chirac.

France - 2006 Annual report

The right to keep journalistic sources private, the key to freedom of expression, was at the centre of discussion in 2005.

Judges ordered searches of the main offices of the magazine Le Point and the daily papers L’Equipe, Berry Républicain and Le Parisien and eight journalists were asked by police to disclose their sources of information. Five were charged with involvement in publishing legally confidential material about a case of alleged drug use by the European cycling team Cofidis.

Reporters Without Borders, the French Federation of News Agencies (FFAP) and the Right to Information group met a senior justice ministry official, Laurent Le Mesle, on 28 January and gave him a memorandum seeking to strengthen the right to protect sources for investigative journalists.

Two cameramen for TV stations France 2 et France 3 and Agence France-Presse photographer Olivier Laban-Mattei were roughed up in late September after violent demonstrations in the Corsican city of Bastia against the privatisation of the Corsican ferry company SNCM. Jean-Marc Plantade, head of the economics desk at Le Parisien, received telephoned death threats after the paper ran an article on 17 October saying SNCM employees were stealing the proceeds of on-board sales.

At least five French and foreign journalists were physically attacked while covering urban riots at the end of the year. A France 2 team was set upon in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois on the night of 2-3 November by dozens of youths who forced the journalists out of their car, which they then overturned and set fire to.

France 3 TV reporter Mady Diawara was hit in the face by a stone while filming the end of Ramadan in the Paris suburb of Montfermeil on 4 November. The next day, a reporter for the state-owned South Korean TV station KBS, Mihye Kim, was attacked by five youths in Aubervilliers, near Paris, while interviewing local people near a warehouse that had been burned down the day before.



 
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2006 Africa annual report
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