French journalist facing jail for online releasing of a clip on Sarkozy

By EDRi · June 16, 2010

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Französischer Journalist wegen Sarkozy-Video vor Gericht |]

A French journalist may go to jail for having leaked on the Internet an
embarrassing off-air video with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Augustin Scalbert of Rue89, brought to court by the National TV company
France 3, was charged with receiving stolen goods. If found guilty, he may
get 5 years of prison and an up to 375 000 euro fine.

Reporters sans Frontières have condemned prosecutor Anne-Julie Paschal’s
decision to place under investigation the journalist who published an
article on 30 June 2008 accompanied by a video showing the French President
irritated by a technician who had not greeted him before an interview. “We
are not in the public service, we are with the demonstrators” said Sarkozy
ironically and when journalist Véronique Auger answered “This is France”,
the president replied “This is going to change”.

Augustin Scalbert was accused of concealing the video clip considered to be
stolen from France 3. It was considered that Augustin Scalbert had
“concealed” because he had protected the identity of his source. “The
increase of the actions against journalists meant to oblige them to reveal
their sources places in danger the investigation journalism in France,” said
Reporters sans frontiers.

A technician from France 3 was also place under investigation for theft in
the same case, where a hearing with the prosecutor took place on 11 June

Several French Journalist Associatons have expressed their public support to
the two persons under investigation, calling it as a new attack against the
protection of the information sources.

The French Green Party has asked France 3 to withdraw the action describing
the legal move as “an attack on the freedom of the press.”

A journalist from Rue 89 placed under investigation for “concealment”, a
threat to journalistic sources (only in French, 11.06.2010),37720.html

Concealer, the other name of the journalist who protects his sources (only
in French, 11.06.2010)

Journalist facing jail for leaking embarrassing off-air video clip of
Nicolas Sarkozy TV interview (14.06.2010)