Four journalists from Mediapart, including its director of publication, were summoned by the police on Monday because of one of the articles on the Benalla affair published by the news website, a procedure strongly denounced by his confusing and president Edwy Plenel.
These four journalists were summoned "by the judicial police at the request of the prosecutor's office of Paris to be interrogated in preliminary investigation", reported Edwy Plenel on the site of Mediapart. "Challenging a procedure that contravenes the spirit of the 1881 law on freedom of the press, they have asserted their right to silence," he added.
For the co-founder of Mediapart, these convocations constitute a new attack on press freedom by the Paris prosecutor, a few months after a search attempt on the premises of the newspaper online, for similar reasons.
"In both cases, it is our revelations in the Benalla affair that have aroused this zeal of the Parisian prosecutor's office: for the search, the article revealing recordings whose contents overwhelm the former collaborator of the President of the Republic, including on the violation of its judicial control, for the convocation, the article revealing that Emmanuel Macron's bodyguard, a close friend of Alexandre Benalla, is a specialist + of burglary and infiltration + ", explained the journalist.
"Despite the unanimous protest of the trade unions and journalists' societies after the search and despite our action against the State for the condemnation of this violation of a fundamental freedom, the public prosecutor of the Republic of Paris is stubbornly cause the right of the press, "added Edwy Plenel who sees in this quadruple convocation a new attempt to install" a climate of pressure on our work of information and intimidation vis-à-vis our sources ".
In late January, Mediapart published sound clips of a conversation between Alexandre Benalla and Vincent Crase dating from July 26, four days after their indictment in the case of violence of May 1, 2018 and in violation of their judicial review.
The public prosecutor's office had in the following days opened an investigation for "unlawful possession of apparatus or technical devices likely to allow the realization of interception of telecommunications or conversations" and "infringement to the intimacy of the private life".
In this context, two prosecutors and three police officers had tried to search the premises of Mediapart for the recordings, an initiative strongly denounced by the news site, several media and the opposition as a breach of secrecy sources journalists.
© 2019 AFP