Does the President of the National Assembly have the right to block a journalist on Twitter?
No, according to Guillaume Tatu, a former adviser to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who no longer has access to Richard Ferrand's content on the social network since September 2018. According to this independent journalist, this blocking poses a major problem of access to the information, preventing him from doing his job.
After a first complaint in January 2019 for "discrimination on the grounds of political opinions", quickly dismissed, Guillaume Tatu became a civil party in March 2019.
In September 2019, the proceedings were dismissed, before being reopened in March 2021 by the investigating chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal.
Tuesday, a new stage will be held, with the summons of Guillaume Tatu in the office of the examining magistrate, to be heard there as a civil party.
Solicited, the plaintiff's lawyer, Me Arash Derambarsh, declined to speak.
Guillaume Tatu believes he was blocked on Twitter by Richard Ferrand after relaying press articles evoking the “Mutuelles de Bretagne” affair, which resulted in the LREM deputy from Finistère being targeted by a judicial investigation investigating suspicions of illegal taking interests, via his partner, when he was managing Mutuelles de Bretagne.
The previous Trump
In his complaint, the journalist referred to the May 2018 decision of the US Federal Court, which held that then US President Donald Trump did not have the right to prevent citizens from following him on social networks, in the name of freedom of expression, guaranteed by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.
The argument had been swept away by the examining magistrate, considering that the decision fell under "a foreign judicial body which is not binding on French courts".
Regarding the principle of discrimination, the magistrate considered that the blocking on Twitter by Richard Ferrand did not prevent Guillaume Tatu "from expressing himself" and that the account of the President of the National Assembly was not "the only source information ”on perch-related topics.
In its judgment, the investigating chamber replied that the investigating magistrate had "confined himself without prior verification to saying that the material element of the offense in question did not exist". The judges had thus asked the examining magistrate to "obtain all the details on the circumstances of the current blocking (date, reason and extent) as well as on the impact that this blocking is likely to have on the complainant and his activities ".