The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today expressed its deep concern
following numerous attacks by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is seeking a
second term, against several French media outlets which undermine freedom of
information in the "homeland of human rights".
The outgoing French president has, for the first time since the start of his
five-year term, decided to lodge a complaint against the website Médiapart,
following claims of Libyan funding for his presidential campaign in 2007. The
candidate labeled the website " a nest" and accused its director of " making up
Mr. Sarkozy also took a swipe at AFP for no obvious reason, saying he was
"ashamed by the decision of the AFP to publish a press alert based on fake
document" (the one that was revealed by Médiapart).
These latest outbursts come after his recent criticism of L'Humanité newspaper
which he called "stupid", "pathetic", "filthy and
disgusting" after a controversy over the organisation of a demonstration
by the ruling party to celebrate "real work" on 1 May , in a
challenge to traditional trade unions' demonstrations.
The EFJ stands firmly by French colleagues who were criticised and demands that
the party in power respect the freedom of the press as defined in the European
"These attacks must stop," said Arne König, EFJ President.
"Democracy in a country is judged in terms of the behavior of political
rulers towards journalists."
EFJ recently denounced the violation of confidentiality of sources in France,
especially in connection with the spying on journalists in the political and
financial Woerth Bettencourt case.
The EFJ supports its member unions and stands in solidarity with them on the
eve of May 3, World Press freedom Day, and a few days ahead of the decisive
Presidential poll in France.
The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in 30 countries
For more information, please contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200