Mélenchon sentenced for public insult and defamation against Radio France

Jean-Luc Mélenchon sentenced for public insult and defamation against Radio France (Jean-Luc Melenchon on BFMTV on March 20, 2019 by Kenzo Tribouillard / Pool via REUTERS)

JUSTICE – Jean-Luc Mélenchon was sentenced on Tuesday January 11 for public insults and public defamation for having called Franceinfo journalists “morons” and “liars” after an investigation by Radio France’s investigation unit into his presidential campaign from 2017.

The leader of rebellious France and presidential candidate for next April was sentenced by the Paris Criminal Court to a suspended fine of 500 euros and will have to pay 3000 euros in damages to Radio France.

His lawyer, Me Matthieu Davy, said he would appeal this decision. “We are amazed at such a harsh decision against the freedom of expression of a political leader,” he said.

“Rot them wherever you can”

Jean-Luc Mélenchon was being prosecuted by Radio France for comments made in a video posted on his Facebook profile on October 19, 2018, after the broadcast the same day on Franceinfo of a part of an investigation by the investigation unit on his advisor in communication, Sophia Chikirou, director of the consulting company Mediascop.

That day, the latter was heard in police custody as part of an investigation by the Paris prosecutor’s office on suspicion of overbilling for this campaign. Three days earlier, searches had been carried out, in particular at the home of Jean-Lu Mélenchon.

In his video, Jean-Luc Mélenchon had castigated “a perfect synchronization” according to him between the police, the justice, the Elysee and the media and estimated to be the subject of a “shelling”.

“Franceinfo journalists are liars, are cheaters,” he said. “They look like what they are, which is morons. Rotten them wherever you can, ”he also said.

Feed “mistrust” vis-à-vis the press

During the hearing on November 10 in front of the 17th chamber of the Paris Criminal Court, Jacques Monin, director of the investigation unit of Radio France, cited as a witness, recounted the “lively emotion” caused by this statement among journalists, considering that these comments had contributed to fueling “mistrust” vis-à-vis the press.

He explained that the publication date of the investigation had been scheduled two months earlier, and not in reaction to the searches and police custody of Ms. Chikirou.

“It is a very satisfactory decision not only for Radio France, but for all journalists”, welcomed Tuesday Me Sabrina Goldman, lawyer of the public radio. “It recognizes that Jean-Luc Mélenchon could not call for hatred with impunity and enshrined the right to freedom to inform”.

See also on Then24: The debate between Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Éric Zemmour twists the left

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