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France5 September 2003

Gunmen fire at journalist’s car

Reporters Without Borders expressed "great concern" today about an attack last night by gunmen in southern Corsica on the car of French journalist Christine Clerc, of the daily paper Le Figaro.

"The authorities must act decisively so those responsible do not feel they can get away with this," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Corsican prefect (governor) Pierre-René Lemas. "The journalist was simply doing her job."

The car was empty when it was riddled with bullets in the village of Tolla. Clerc had written a humorous article in the paper on 1 September headed "Put out the fire and then clear off!" in which she deplored a 20 August bomb attack on the car of a policeman in Tolla. On 3 September, a copy of the article was pasted on a vehicle that blocked the entrance to where she was staying.

Clerc, who had been on holiday in Tolla, had met the policeman, from mainland France, on 28 August as he was leaving Corsica. She wrote a story about how he was forced to leave after helping to put out a fire that threatened the village.

The article was criticised by many villagers, including mayor Jean-Baptiste Casalta, who accused her of giving Corsica a bad image. Clerc said she had never been attacked or threatened before because of her work.

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