EFJ in Solidarity with Journalists on Trial in France

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly

supports journalists and journalists' unions in France facing a trial in the

Bettencourt case.

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.