French Prosecutors Target Journalist Over November Paris Terror Attack Coverage
Berlin—We at Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA) are outraged over French prosecutors' attempts to criminalize the conduct of our colleague, reporter and photographer, Maya Vidon-White, for doing her job covering the Paris terror attacks Nov. 13, 2015 for American news outlets USA Today and United Press International (UPI).
French prosecutors are targeting Vidon-White under the provisions of a French law that criminalizes publishing a photo of a survivor of a terror attack. Without going into the problematic nature of that law for reasons of press freedoms, we believe that Vidon-White has broken no laws: She took a photo of a victim of the attack who later died as part of her reporting; she did not publish the photo in France; she did not sell the photo to a French outlet – she sold it as part of a series to UPI in the United States. Afterward, she had no control over its resale or its publication.
We believe that Vidon-White has broken no laws
We believe that French prosecutors are being overzealous and trying to make an example of Vidon-White to show to the grieving public – and the family of the victim – that they are taking action regarding the terror attacks, and twisting French law to do so.
We are calling for prosecutors to drop their case against Vidon-White and to refrain from using this law in the future to prosecute journalists doing their jobs.
What's next: prosecuting reporters for interviewing victims ?
"We unfortunately are all too familiar with covering terror attacks and have tremendous sympathy for the victims of these murderous rampages including those who died on Nov. 13 in Paris," said Jabeen Bhatti, managing editor of ARA, who worked on the Paris coverage with Vidon-White. "But this is witch hunt by French prosecutors. What's next: prosecuting reporters for interviewing victims?"