Edouard Philippe receives Wednesday associations and representatives of journalists to discuss "the stakes for the sector" but also to ensure that the executive will not touch the 1881 law and will not establish a Council of the Order, said Matignon.
By inviting from 3:00 pm representatives of all the actors of the profession, journalists and editors, the Prime Minister "wishes to recall the commitment of the government to defend the freedom of the press and the essential role that the press and media in democracy ".
This meeting is part of a context of uncertainty and tension between the profession and the executive, after recent government statements.
In June, Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said she wanted to take out the racial insult of the 1881 Freedom of the Press Act, prompting warnings from several lawyers specializing in press law. Fundamental to journalists, the law of July 29, 1881 establishes a derogatory regime allowing them to protect their sources and deliver information of general interest by taking the risk sometimes of public defamation.
This law was notably used by the journalist of Monde Ariane Chemin, convened in May by the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) as part of an investigation to "reveal the identity of a member of the special forces" . This hearing, as well as that of seven other journalists for work on the use of French weapons in Yemen, had raised a wave of protests from the profession.
In June, Digital Secretary Cédric O sparked an uproar by speaking out for a "press council" of journalists to fight false news and disinformation in their ranks, while warning failing that, it would be up to the State itself to intervene. Mr. O then rectified by invoking "unfortunate words".
To clarify the situation, the Prime Minister will say on Wednesday "that he does not intend to touch the 1881 law, nor establish a Council of the Order of Journalists," assured Matignon.
Mr. Philippe "would like to discuss with the representatives of the profession on the evolutions of the information today and the stakes for the sector", one continued of the same source.
Are invited "trade unions, companies of journalists, associations and directors and editors of audiovisual media and news media," said Matignon.
© 2019 AFP