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FRANCE: Journalists threatened in France – open letter to the Minister of the Interior

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Unofficial translation of open letter, published by European Federation of Journalists, available here.

After the death threats received by journalists Nadiya Lazzouni and Morgan Large , the French unions, SNJ , SNJ-CGT , CFDT-Journalists , and Angry Reporters , supported by the IFJ and the FEJ , sent a letter open to the French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin , so that he immediately puts in place measures that will ensure their safety.

Mr. Gérald Darmanin

Minister of the Interior

1, Place Beauvau

75008 Paris

Minister,

On Thursday, April 8, 2021, journalist and founder of Speak Up Channel, Nadiya Lazzouni , posted on Twitter that she had received an anonymous letter of death threat at her home. Published by the journalist, the handwritten letter contains threats of a racist and sexist nature directed against her and the entire Muslim community: “We will bulldozer you bunch of p…. Islamists ”; “Keep your rag”; “We will aim better cheeky little one. It will fill your brain with m…. “; “Some will call their mothers before taking a bullet in the back of the neck”; “France will be virgin of all Muslims and Islamists”.

Ms. Lazzouni said that she requested police protection. What she still does not have at the time of writing this letter.

On March 29, 2021, journalist Morgan Large found that her car had been sabotaged with two bolts removed from a wheel. Morgan Large works for the bilingual Franco-Breton radio station Kreiz Breizh. She is known for her surveys of the agricultural sector in Brittany. The sabotage of her car parked near her home is the latest act of intimidation against her and her family. It is added to the long list of threats and criminal acts, which she has been subjected to as a result of her work. Last November, the doors to the premises of Radio Kreiz Breizh were smashed, without any sign of intrusion, after the airing of a documentary in which Morgan Large was interviewed. Last January, her dog was poisoned.

Morgan Large said she requested police protection. What she still does not have at the time of writing this letter.

These two cases were published in the form of “alerts” by the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ / EFJ) on the Platform for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists of the Council of Europe and did not receive a response from France to Mrs. Marija Pejčinović Buric , Secretary General of the Council of Europe, at the time of writing.

Mr. Minister, it is your responsibility to do everything to immediately protect the lives of these two journalists, two young women, attacked, threatened, abused because they only fulfilled their mission to inform.

In Kenya, on April 7, our national television colleague Betty Mutekhele Barasa was murdered in her home in Nairobi. She was targeted because she was a journalist.

In northeastern Afghanistan, on March 2, Mursal Wahidi , Sadia Sadat and Shahnaz Roafi , three young women journalists for Enikass TV, were murdered in cold blood by snipers. They too were only fulfilling their mission to inform.

And we do not forget the tragedy which mourned the profession in Greece on April 9, when our colleague Giorgos Karaivaz was also murdered in front of his home.

The modus operandi is always the same: target journalists to silence them, to prevent them from doing their job.

Mr. Minister, this letter is intended to be solemn and serious because the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s leading organization for the profession with 600,000 members in 150 countries, has been experiencing these tragedies on average twice a week since 1990. In 30 years, the profession has lost nearly 2,800 journalists around the world, two per week (!), and its annual reports show that it is no longer in countries at war that journalists are being murdered. No democracy is spared today.

France, whose Charlie Hebdo editorial staff massacre on January 7, 2015 shook the world and led to massive demonstrations in favor of the freedom to inform and be informed everywhere, must act immediately to ensure that Nadiya Lazzouni and Morgan Large can continue their work in complete safety.

France, 6th world power, benefits from all the necessary means to put an end to this escalation of threats, intimidation and violence. Freedom of expression is at stake. Democracy is at stake.

Please accept, Mr. Minister, the expression of our highest consideration.

Anthony Bellanger , General Secretary of the IFJ

Ricardo Gutiérrez , Secretary General of the EFJ

Emmanuel Poupard , First Secretary General of the SNJ

Emmanuel Vire , Secretary General of SNJ-CGT

Laurent Villette , Secretary General of the CFDT-Journalists

Taha Bouhafs , Angry Reporters