France: wave of intimidation against journalists

Several journalists covering the far right are facing intimidation attempts in France. A StreetPress writer received death threats after writing about armed supporters of Eric Zemmour and a Mediapart journalist was attacked several times by far-right Youtubers after reporting on Zemmour's links to the far right. Does Paris need to do more to stop attacks against press freedom?

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Mediapart (FR) /

Intolerable laisser-faire attitude

Mediapart complains about the government's inaction:

“Macron is letting things happen and hoping to profit from the deterioration of the political climate. ... A few months before the presidential election, one can only be astonished and condemn this laisser-faire attitude on the part of the government, which is supposed to guarantee the conditions for peaceful public debate. Its lack of urgency in finding a collective, decisive course of action when journalists' lives are at stake is deplorable. Mathilde Panot, a deputy from the left-wing party La France insoumise, had to approach Prime Minister Jean Castex in the National Assembly on Tuesday 16 November to get him to make a comment. However, he confined himself to the absolute minimum: condemnation and listing existing measures.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Get serious about defending press freedom

Like many other media, Le Monde publishes an appeal by 38 journalists' associations to the politicians:

“Death threats, calls for rape, insults, online harassment, bans on covering political events, intimidation at events: Several journalists who report on the far-right have been confronted for several weeks with a violence that is absolutely unacceptable and aimed at hindering their work. ... We journalists' associations call on Jean Castex's government and all political groups to really defend freedom of information and to finally understand the seriousness of the situation in the run-up to a crucial political event [the presidential election in April 2022].”