Affair Lavrilleux: our proposals to protect freedom of information
Affair Lavrilleux: our proposals to protect freedom of information
Paris, 28th of September 2023
Volt France is concerned about the search of the home of investigative journalist Ariane Lavrilleux, her detention in police custody and the prosecution of her by police officers from the Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI). We reiterate that media freedom is a guarantee of the pluralism and diversity of opinion necessary for democratic debate.
In 2021, Disclose journalist Ariane Lavrilleux shed light on the French government's involvement in the Sirli military operation in Egypt. According to her investigation, Sirli was diverted from its initial mission by the authoritarian government of Marshal Al-Sissi and involved in around twenty bombings of civilians between 2016 and 2018. The French authorities were reportedly aware of these actions, but did not call the mission into question. Following these revelations, an investigation was opened for compromising national defence secrets and revealing information that could lead to the identification of a protected agent. The French authorities have never denied the information contained in Ariane Lavrilleux's investigation.
This worrying case follows several similar actions by the DGSI directed at journalists. In 2019, journalists from the Disclose media were summoned to the DGSI after revelations about the use of French weapons in Yemen, and again in November 2021 about investigations into arbitrary executions in Egypt. Journalists from Le Monde, Le Quotidien and Radio France also visited the DGSI. In June 2022, the journalist Alex Jordanov, author of an investigative book on the DGSI, was taken into custody before being indicted and placed under judicial supervision. Against this backdrop, France's fall from 11th place 20 years ago to 23rd place in RSF's annual media freedom index is a significant warning signal.
Safeguarding media freedom means consolidating democracy
Volt France is concerned about the consequences of these actions against journalists and the media. Taken together, they contribute to intimidating the press and can constitute a real threat to the freedom to inform in the name of national security. The recent police custody of Ariane Lavrilleux can be seen as an attempt to muzzle a journalist and threaten the confidentiality of her sources. These actions seriously undermine the profession of journalist and the freedom to inform.
Journalistic work, particularly investigative journalism, is in the public interest. It is essential to the transparency of political action, the accountability of the authorities and the health of our democracy.
For Volt, the democratic political space in France and Europe depends on the existence of vibrant, pluralistic and accessible media.
Volt s'engage à garantir la liberté d'informer en France et en Europe
Volt France advocates a series of measures to guarantee media freedom in France and Europe:
1) Guaranteeing freedom of information by protecting sources
The protection of journalistic sources is a prerequisite for the protection of the fundamental right enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter and is crucial to safeguarding journalism's role as the "fourth estate" in democratic societies. The secrecy of sources is essential to protect the people who agree to give evidence to journalists, which makes it possible to guarantee the production of reliable information that is as close as possible to developments. Volt France will be working to constitutionalise the protection of journalistic sources and is continuing its work on the draft European regulation Media Freedom Act, which has made major advances in this direction to ensure a harmonised European system of confidentiality of sources. Volt France therefore joins RSF in calling for guarantees to be adopted to ensure the protection of sources.
2) Ensure journalist security
It is fundamental to a pluralistic media landscape in which journalists operate without fear of intimidation, coercion or harassment. Volt supports various measures aimed at guaranteeing the safety of journalists in Europe and their working environment, for example by calling on Member States to fully support the initiative launched by RSF for the creation of a special representative of the UN Secretary-General for the safety of journalists.
3) Ensure the independence of the media
In order to guarantee a democratic space, it is imperative to ensure that the public media in EU Member States are free from government interference. This protection against interference ensures the proper functioning of the media in that they act as checks and balances guaranteeing the solidity of democracies.
4) Ensure transparency of media investment and influence
To make informed decisions, citizens in France and across the EU need to be able to understand the interests served by a media outlet. That's why Volt is working to ensure that governments guarantee the independence of their broadcasting regulatory authorities and take appropriate measures to ensure genuine transparency of media ownership and sources of funding. Such transparency also safeguards the right of journalists to protect their sources and protects them from undue influence by preventing the possible negative effects of excessive concentration of media ownership.
5) Safeguard the pluralistic media sphere necessary for the functioning of a European democracy.
To achieve this, the media must be rehabilitated as places for open and free deliberation between a variety of actors. Volt will strengthen the EU's ability to defend the fundamental rights of its citizens and to intervene effectively in cases where media freedom and pluralism are under threat in EU Member States. For example, Volt is calling on the Commission to propose an anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) directive that will protect independent media from vexatious lawsuits aimed at silencing or intimidating them. Volt will study the introduction of other mechanisms for effective monitoring of media independence at European level, to be carried out by a politically independent body.
- (french) Ariane Lavrilleux in police custody: "The very exercise of the profession of journalist is in jeopardy", warn journalists' associations, LeMonde, September 2023 (link)
- (french) Ariane Lavrilleux: journalist brought before a liberty and custody judge, by Marie Dupin, Radio France, September 2023 (link)
- (french) Why journalists have been summoned by the DGSI ? by Fabien Leboucq, Libération, May 2019 (link)
As the first truly pan-European party, Volt is committed to reforming the European Union and responding to today's challenges in a coordinated way at European level. Volt's vision: a progressive Europe with an inclusive society, a climate-friendly economy, an adaptable education system and self-determined digitalisation.
Volt is convinced that only the democratic participation of all European citizens will prepare us for a sustainable, economically strong and socially just future. This is why Volt acts at all levels - from local to European, as a movement and as a party. The movement gives everyone a voice and the opportunity to engage politically from within society. Today, Volt is present all over Europe: thousands of people of all ages and professions are involved in 30 European countries with teams in hundreds of cities.
For interview requests or further information, please contact us at the following address :
Valerie Chartrain - External relations
Mail : email@example.com
Updated the 28th of September 2023