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France6 June 2002

Reporters Without Borders expresses support for journalist Daniel Mermet

Daniel Mermet, a journalist and on-air radio host with France Inter radio station, appeared before the Paris Correctional Tribunal on 31 May 2002 after a lawsuit was launched against him for broadcasting "anti-semitic" remarks. The lawsuit was brought against the journalist by the Jewish Students’ Union of France (Union des étudiants juifs de France, UEJF), the League Against Racism and Anti-semitism (Ligue contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme, LICRA) and Lawyers Without Borders (Avocats sans frontières), for broadcasting anti-Israeli remarks by several listeners on the air.

Reporters Without Borders is outraged that the journalist is being prosecuted simply for having broadcast listener messages. More generally, the organisation is concerned over the increasing tendency to launch improper legal action against the right to free expression in recent months in France.

Robert Ménard, the organisation’s secretary-general, asked, "Is it still possible to express opinions that are critical of the current Israeli government without being accused of anti-semitism?" Ménard added, "It is unacceptable when the fight against anti-semitism is systematically and inappropriately evoked, and thus debased, to censor or penalise the calling into question of Israel’s policies in the current context. We warn against a reduction of freedom of expression in France."

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