France Télévisions was sentenced this Thursday by the Criminal Court of Paris to a fine of 1,500 euros for the broadcast in the television news of France 3 Corsica of photos of the assault of Yvan Colonna, in March 2022 at the prison of Arles. The Corsican separatist, who was serving a life sentence for the murder of the prefect Claude Erignac - had been attacked by Franck Elong Abé, a prisoner convicted in a terrorist case. He died three weeks after the attack.
The report, broadcast 15 days after the attack, showed screenshots from the prison's CCTV. Despite the rapid withdrawal of the report from the France 3 website, Yvan Colonna's family said they were "shocked" and filed a complaint for "violation of the secrecy of the investigation". France Télévisions, via its boss Delphine Ernotte, the editorial director of France 3 Corse and the two authors of the subject appeared on March 15 for "publication of acts of criminal procedure before their reading in open court" or complicity in this offense.
"An obvious search for sensationalism"
The court ruled in its decision that the images had been published in a "raw and non-contextualized" manner, "in an obvious search for sensationalism". If Yvan Colonna was not "identifiable", "the evocative force" of the photos, helped by the editing of the subject, "is no less real", also concluded the court, which considers that the report has no "contribution" in terms of information.
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France Télévisions and the two journalists who wrote the subject were sentenced to a suspended fine of 1,500 euros. They will also have to pay a total of 9,000 euros in damages to the relatives of the Corsican activist who had filed a civil suit. The editorial director of France 3 Corsica was released. Contacted by AFP, France Télévisions did not wish to react. Marie-Laure Barré, lawyer for the widow and one of the victim's sons, welcomed the sentence, recalling that the "viewing of these images had been of great violence" for her clients.