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On the front page of the press, the revelations of the investigative website Disclose on the attempts of several states, including France, to "torpedo" the first European law on the protection of the freedom and independence of the media in the EU.

This law, called the European Media Freedom Act, has been the subject of bitter negotiations for several months. Its final text is expected to be presented to the European Parliament on Friday. According to Disclose, what still sticks is its Article 4, which prohibits the use of spyware against journalists in the name of protecting sources – except in the context of investigations into "serious crime", such as terrorism. The investigative website says it has had access to documents proving that the French, Italian, Finnish, Cypriot, Greek, Maltese and Swedish authorities are scrapping to include in Article 4 the surveillance of journalists in the name of "national security", a concept whose content is as broad as it is vague. The proposal is presented by Disclose as an attempt to "torpedo" press freedom and the protection of sources.

🚨 The France unites alongside 6 European states to enshrine spying on journalists in law#EMFA

The @Europarl_EN has 3 days left to prevent this serious attack on democracy

Revelations @Disclose_ngo, @FTM_eu and @investigate_eu

— Disclose (@Disclose_ngo) December 12, 2023

Attacks on press freedom also affect African journalists. At the end of 2023, Jeune Afrique has chosen to honour journalists who are trying, despite everything, to "move the lines" on the continent. The magazine notes that "the protective laws and hard-won legislative advances of the 90s to 2010 are increasingly being called into question", with today's journalists no longer being "enthusiastic discoverers surfing on the emancipatory promises of the new media of the time, but exemplary resistance fighters in the face of the return of liberticidal practices from a past that we hoped would be over". Among these journalists-resistance fighters, Jeune Afrique portrays the Nigerien Samira Sabou. The 42-year-old journalist, who is also a human rights activist, was arrested several times during the presidencies of Mahamadou Issoufou and Mohamed Bazoum and now lives under constant pressure from the ruling junta.

She too is a journalist and Iranian, now exiled in France. Nazila Maroufian testifies in Le Figaro. This young woman, who became known for interviewing Father Mahsa Amini – whose death sparked a widespread protest movement in Iran and who was posthumously awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought yesterday – recounts for the first time the harassment she was subjected to in her country, his stay in Evin prison, then in Qarchak women's prison, his multiple arrests and their share of violence and humiliation. Like the day she ran aground in a courtroom waiting room and begged, in vain, to be taken to the bathroom. "I was on my period. I ended up pissing on myself. One guy hit me and shouted, "You're not ashamed to get the floor dirty. Go ahead, lick it to clean up your filth." I refused! So they pulled me by the hair across the room." But neither her violence nor her exile, she says, has made Nazila Maroufian lose her hope for change. In an op-ed published by Le Monde, Azadeh Kian calls on Europe to "change its policy towards Iran" and support these democratic aspirations. This French-Iranian sociologist is particularly indignant at President Ebrahim Raisi's invitation to the UN Global Refugee Forum in Geneva today. In the end, the Iranian president had to cancel his participation because of a complaint of crimes against humanity filed against him by three Iranians living in Switzerland.

Journalist and anti-veil activist Nazila Maroufian recounts for the first time the harassment she faced in Iran. Exiled in Strasbourg, she is finally free to move, her body, her hair.↓

— Le Figaro (@Le_Figaro) December 13, 2023

A word, too, about the Ukrainian president's visit to Washington, from where Volodymyr Zelensky left without additional financial aid. While Republican lawmakers are still blocking Joe Biden's request for an additional $61 billion, The Wall Street Journal is urging the president to reach a deal in the Senate, failing which "a pillar of his foreign policy will collapse and Ukraine's ability to resist Russian aggression will weaken, leaving the field open for Vladimir Putin and his ambition to reconstitute the Russian empire." For the time being, the Russian president continues to tighten the noose around his compatriots, several million of whom were ordered on Monday to entrust their passports to the authorities, according to Le Monde, which specifies that the measure concerns in particular men summoned as part of the so-called "partial" military mobilization, but also, potentially, all Russian nationals abroad. A measure that feeds "the fear of a country that walls itself up behind its borders as in the time of the USSR".

We don't leave each other on that. Before telling you tomorrow, a word about the controversy of the day, here in France: an "outcry", since Emmanuel Macron announced that contemporary stained glass windows would be made to replace those of Notre-Dame Cathedral dating from Viollet-Le-Duc. According to Le Figaro, a petition has been launched, with more than 7,200 signatures already registered. And while we're on the subject of heritage, I also suggest you take a look at L'Ardennais, a local newspaper, which announces that today is International Raclette Day, a convivial and comforting dish, which has its origins, I learned, in the Swiss and French Alps, where shepherds heated their cheese near a wood fire. And you, are you up to date on raclette in particular and cheeses in general? To find out, you can always try the quiz of Ouest France. Our colleagues from France Bleu went to the markets to ask the PĂ©rigourdins, the inhabitants of Perigord, about their preference between raclette and tartiflette, which is cooked with bacon and onions. It would seem that, here again, opinions are very divided. This is reminiscent of General de Gaulle's famous quip that it is impossible to "govern a country where there are 258 varieties of cheese".

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