19 May 2010

RSF shocked at police search in Tahiti defamation case

1:45 pm on 19 May 2010

The journalists organisation, Reporters Without Borders, says it is scandalous how the French authorities went about in a defamation case in French Polynesia.

The authorities seized computers of the Tahiti-based correspondent of the AFP news agency, Mike Leyral, after they had searched his work station in the newsroom of French Polynesia's public broadcaster, TNTV.

The action followed a complaint by TNTV's head, Yves Haupert, for allegedly being defamed in an item on the internet.

The secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, Jean-Francois Juilliard, says he is shocked that such drastic measures were taken against Mr Leyral, whose private computers were also seized during a search of his home.

The seizure at home is believed to be a first in French media history.

Mr Juilliard says the computers should be returned immediately.

He says Mr Haupert's influence as a former advisor to Gaston Flosse cannot justify such a shameless hijacking of the law.