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France Takes Unprecedented Action Against Reporters Who Published Secret Government Document

Published: May 17, 2019
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Source: The Intercept

JOURNALISTS IN FRANCE are facing potential jail sentences in an unprecedented case over their handling of secret documents detailing the country’s involvement in the Yemen conflict.

Earlier this week, a reporter from Radio France and the co-founders of Paris-based investigative news organization Disclose were called in for questioning at the offices of the General Directorate for Internal Security, known as the DGSI, an organization that is tasked with fighting terrorism, espionage, and other domestic threats, similar in function to the FBI in the United States.

The two news organizations published stories in April – together with The Intercept, Mediapart, ARTE Info, and Konbini News – that revealed the vast amount of French, British, and American military equipment sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and subsequently used by those nations to wage war in Yemen.

The stories – based on a secret document authored by France’s Directorate of Military Intelligence, which was obtained by the journalists at Disclose – highlighted that officials at the top of the French government had seemingly lied to the public about the country’s involvement in the war. They also demonstrated the extent of Western nations’ complicity in the devastating conflict, which has killed or injured more than 17,900 civilians and triggered a famine that has taken the lives of an estimated 85,000 children.

The French government did not want the document to be made public and officials were furious when its release made headlines around the world. Not long after it was published, Disclose’s co-founders Geoffrey Livolsi and Mathias Destal, along with Radio France reporter Benoît Collombat, were asked to attend a hearing at the DGSI’s headquarters in northwest Paris.

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