29 Jun 2009

Reporters Without Borders regrets defamation judgement against publisher in French Polynesia

11:17 am on 29 June 2009

The journalists organisation, Reporters Without Borders, has expressed regret at the defamation sentence given by a Paris court to a French Polynesian publisher, Alex du Prel.

Mr du Prel was fined 1,000 euros after the court upheld a complaint lodged by the French prosecutor in French Polynesia, Jean Bianconi, over an article published two years ago about the 1997 disappearance of a Tahitian journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud.

The magazine, Tahiti Pacifique, claimed that the journalist had been killed and questioned whether there was an overriding political interest to bury the affair.

Mr Couraud's family lodged a murder complaint in 2004 and investigations are still to be completed.

Reporters Without Borders says the judiciary is quick to attack a journalist critical of its activities instead of trying to resolve cases, such as Mr Couraud's death.

It also questions why the complaint was lodged in France and not in French Polynesia where the magazine is published.