Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
France2 April 2009

“Dangerous trend” condemned after anti-crime unit questions four journalists over Sarkozy video

Reporters Without Borders today condemned a “dangerous” increase in press freedom violations in France after four journalists were questioned by an anti-crime unit, the BDRP, yesterday in Paris about a widely-circulated video of President Nicolas Sarkozy talking informally to TV studio staff without realising he was being filmed.

“France holds the European record for police and court attempts to violate the confidentiality of journalists’ sources, with a total of six raids, three judicial investigations and more than 10 court summonses in the past two years,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Too many press freedom violations are taking place in France. This dangerous trend must be stopped.”

The video, which showed President Sarkozy in a France 3 TV studio on 30 June 2008 expressing irritation with a technician for his perceived impoliteness, was immediately posted on the Rue89 news website and other sites. The BDRP began investigating after France 3’s management filed a complaint alleging “theft, reception of stolen property and piracy.”

France 3 journalists Joseph Tual and Carine Azzopardi and Rue89 journalist Augustin Scalbert were questioned by the BDRP yesterday morning. Rue89 editor Pierre Haski was questioned in the afternoon. None of them was detained. Afterwards, the BDRP reportedly passed its findings to the Paris prosecutor’s office, which is to decide whether to go ahead with a prosecution.

“We have always refused to compare the press freedom situation in France with the situation in Russia, China or Burma, but this is too much,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The work of journalists needs to be better protected. Many journalists live in fear of being prosecuted and this is inacceptable in a country such as France.”

President Sarkozy was filmed prior to being interviewed for the France 3 programme 19/20. The management of France 3, which is state-owned, also held an internal investigation into how the video became available on the Internet, where it was seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

  In this country
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up
12 May - France
TV reporter cleared of inciting teenager in body piercing “suspension”
26 March - France
Two website journalists summoned for questioning about Sarkozy video
4 March - France
Anger over new case of journalists being treated as “police auxiliaries or even criminals”
17 December - France
Public debate on press freedom in Paris draws more than 700 participants

in the annual report
France - Annual Report 2008
France - Annual report 2007
France - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
28 May - Azerbaijan
Court breaks law by refusing to release journalist on health grounds

5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives