Macron against free speech in France


This 23 May 2019 French France Inter video says about itself (translated):

When the secret police summons the journalists

Several journalists have been summonsed recently by the General Directorate for Internal Security. Yesterday, we learned about the summoning of Ariane Chemin, a journalist at Le Monde, by the General Directorate for Internal Security. We say, the “DGSI”. Reason: her revelations about the Benalla affair and about others close to the Elysee [presidential palace of Emmanuel Macron].

Astonishment. Even the Washington Post in the United States wrote about it tonight. What do investigators want to know? Who are the sources of Ariane Chemin? What documents does she possess? Is there an attempt to intimidate?

The case is all the more disturbing as, at the same time, a number of journalists (eight to our knowledge), is being summoned one after the other by the DGSI for their work on what, this time? On French arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Are there banned subjects in our country?

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Summons for Le Monde reporter amid scandal

FRENCH unions and campaign groups warned of a worrying clampdown on free speech today, after Le Monde reporter Ariane Chemin became the fifth journalist to receive a summons in recent weeks.

Her call to meet French intelligence services is believed to have stemmed from her reporting on French President Emmanuel Macron’s former aide Alexandre Benalla.

Ms Chemin broke the news in May 2018 that Mr Benalla had posed as a police officer to attack protesters at a [May Day] demonstration.

The reporting caused a scandal, after it was revealed that Mr Benalla held several diplomatic passports months after he was sacked, allowing him to meet a number of African leaders.

It emerged that Mr Benalla had allegedly negotiated financial deals with Russian oligarchs, including one between former French air officer Chokri Wakrim and Iskander Makhmudov, who is alleged to have links to the Russian mafia.

Mr Wakrim’s wife Marie-Elodie Poitout was forced to resign as head of security at Matignon after it was revealed that she had hosted Mr Benalla at the [Matignon] prime minister’s residence after his sacking.

Mr Macron survived a vote of no confidence last year, however, the scandal has continued to plague his government.

The journalist has been summoned for “committing or attempting to commit the offence of revealing or disclosing, by any means, any information that could lead, directly or indirectly, to the identification of a person as a member of special forces.”

She could face jail if found guilty.

However, Le Monde defended Ms Chemin and said in an editorial: “We express our worries regarding this summons: the public interest implies the capacity to investigate the links and relationships of collaborators of the Elysee and Matignon, whatever their previous careers.”

Last week two journalists from the NGO Disclose and one from Radio France’s investigation department were summoned regarding the publication of revelations on French weapons used in the war in Yemen.

Committee to Protect Journalists co-ordinator Gulzona Said said: “We are concerned by French police summoning journalists of different media outlets, including Le Monde, over their reports.

“It is of vital importance for a free press that journalists are able to work uncensored while protecting the confidentiality of their sources.

“French authorities should respect that, and allow journalists to continue informing the French public about an important news story.”

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