20 May 2010

Journalists organisation criticises French authorities over case in French Polynesia

9:06 am on 20 May 2010

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

The authorities seized computers of the Tahiti-based correspondent of the AFP news agency, Mike Leyral, both at work and at his home.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The seizures are unprecedented as under French law a journalist's sources are protected. The secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, Jean-Francois Juilliard, says he is shocked and told radio in Tahiti that for a defamation case the action is exaggerated. The search followed a complaint by TNTV's head, Yves Haupert, who suspected one of his journalist, Mike Leyral, of playing a role in a blog depicting him with a Hitler moustache. Mr Juilliard says the computers should be returned immediately, adding that Mr Haupert's influence as a former advisor to Gaston Flosse cannot justify such a shameless hijacking of the law."