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France: EFJ Concerned by Threats against Journalists after TV Report on Palestine

October 14, 2011

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today expressed its support to journalists and unions at France 2 following threats made against the public channel's presenters over a television programme on the potential creation of a Palestinian state.

"We condemn all forms of threats against journalists who have done their work, especially on a politically sensitive issue such as the Israeli-Palestinian relations," said Beth Costa, General Secretary of the IFJ / EFJ.

The two hour long TV broadcast entitled "Eye on the planet" (Un oeil sur la planète) of Monday, 3 October on the question "Is a Palestinian state possible?" drew particularly hostile reaction from some viewers, including verbal attack on the presenters.

The National Union of Journalists (SNJ), an IFJ/EFJ affiliate, denounced "A hysterical wave of e-mails often insulting, physical threats against the presenter of the evening programme: everything is good to try to intimidate journalists of France 2. " The SNJ-CGT condemned the « intolerable harassment coming from a community group» and calls on the profession to « show its support to journalists of France2 ».

The EFJ backs the unions of journalists and condemns all forms of violence against media , citing one message which made the following threats: "I know the people responsible for this programme and their executives. They will pay the price of infamy".

According to media reports, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France and the Embassy of Israel requested a meeting with the President of France Televisions to discuss the TV programme. The EFJ said that journalists can benefit from constructive criticism if it is based on facts, noting that there has been no shred of evidence of professional error leveled at the programme makers nor factual inaccuracy in the report.

"We do not do politics, but journalism," added Ms. Costa, "And it is not up to any community organisation or any embassy to interfere in editorial matters on programmes by the French public broadcasting service simply because they disagreed with the content."

In France, EFJ members are the SNJ (which has launched a petition on this subject), the SNJ-CGT and USJ-CFDT.

The EFJ represents more than 260.000 members in over 30 countries

For more information contact:
European Federation of Journalists
Phone: + 32 2 235 22 00

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