Unacceptable attack on press freedom in France

The professional association Imprint and the trade union Syndicom as well as the French trade union SNJ-CGT sharply criticize the police authorities of Briançon (F). Last weekend, they had stopped and questioned the correspondent of the daily newspaper in western Switzerland. This incident shows that even in France, the rights of journalists are being violated.


"Freedom of the media is a fundamental right that affects not only journalists. It is a foundation of every democracy that must be anchored in all citizens. Likewise with the authorities, which are appointed by the elected governments. Unfortunately, the rights of media professionals are also being trampled on in the middle of Europe," wrote Imprint and Syndicom in a joint statement on Wednesday.

A journalist from the French-speaking Swiss daily newspaper "Le Temps" had this drastic experience with the French police authorities during a professional assignment last weekend. On a reportage about the new escape routes of migrants, the journalist Caroline Christinaz was detained by the gendarmerie of Briançon (south of Geneva) during two hours and subjected to an interrogation.

The authorities ignored the fact that she was a journalist on assignment. They even treated her as a suspect during the massive police operation to deport migrants from the region.

"During the interrogation, the police and investigative authorities tried to intimidate the journalist. They criticized her severely, although she was not doing anything other than her profession. This action against a journalist is unworthy of the very place where the Declaration of Human Rights was founded. The internal security law recently passed in France is showing its harmful effects and seems to be strengthening repressive forces in the police and among certain officials. Journalism must not be treated as a crime and freedom of information must not be undermined," the joint statement reads.

Imprint, Syndicom as well as their French colleagues at SNJ-CGT join the journalists of "Le Temps" in denouncing this blatant violation of media freedom and criticize the incidents as unacceptable.

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