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France29 May 2002

Editor of monthly gets huge fine

Reporters Without Borders protested today against a very heavy fine imposed on Philippe Brunet-Leconte, editor of French monthly magazine Objectifs Rhone-Alpes, and his deputy, Loic Tanant, who were ordered to immediately pay a total of € 182,000 in libel damages by a court in the southern French city of St.Etienne.

"Without judging the rights or wrongs of the case, we deplore such a huge fine, which may force this regional publication to close," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to French justice minister Dominique Perben.

"We are worried about the increasing number of court cases in France that are going against the media and we ask you to give this problem your attention," he added.

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