The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly
supports journalists and journalists' unions in France facing a trial in the
Journalists Franz-Olivier Giesbert and Hervé Gattegno (Le
Point), Edwy Plenel, Fabrice Arfi and Fabrice Lhomme (Mediapart at the time)
were indicted in March and April 2012, for publishing extracts of conversations
by Ms. Liliane Bettencourt recorded by her butler, regarding alleged illegal
donations to political parties.
On 2 September, the three judges hearing the case sent the
five journalists to the criminal court, following the prosecutor's indictments.
Indeed, on 4 July, the prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Versailles ordered
the two French publications to remove the recordings from their respective
The EFJ supports its member unions in France (SNJ, SNJ- CGT,
and USJ -CFDT) in condemning the decision to prosecute the journalists. Indeed,
the pattern of "intimacy of private life" and the three judges' argument that
"the legitimacy of the publication of the articles in question (...) can only
be debated at a public hearing" are hard hits to the journalism profession.
According to the EFJ, the judges hit the wrong target in a
case that concerns primarily the collusion between the worlds of politics and
business. The right to know and be informed is seriously challenged since
journalists did not make the recordings themselves; they were simply informing
the public of items at their disposal.
The EFJ expresses its solidarity with its five prosecuted
colleagues and demands dropping all the charges against them.
For more information,
please contact the EFJ at +32 2 235 22 00.
The EFJ is the
European group of the International Federation of Journalists. It represents
more than 320,000 journalists in 37 countries.