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French TV journalist asked by court to reveal sources for report on Moroccan arrest warrants

French TV journalist asked by court to reveal sources for report on Moroccan arrest warrants
Mehdi Ben Barka was a Moroccan politician, head of the left-wing National Union of Popular Forces (UNPF) and secretary of the Tricontinental Conference. An opponent of Hassan II, he "disappeared" in Paris in 1965. As of 2008, the Ben Barka Affair has not been completely clarified, and investigations are ongoing.

Joseph Tual, a journalist with the French state-owned TV station France 3, was recently questionedby a court in Lille on suspicion of "violating professional confidentiality" in a report about new developments in the investigation into the 1965 disappearance of Moroccan opposition politician Medhi Ben Barka in Paris.

Tual was summoned to a Lille court on November 20 in response to a complaint brought by a retired senior Moroccan official, Miloud Tounsi, also known as "Larbi Chtouki," in connection with a France 3 report broadcast on October 22, 2007, the day that French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived on a visit to Morocco, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported.

The report revealed that French investigating judge Patrick Ramaël had issued five international warrants for the arrest of senior Moroccan officials in connection with Ben Barka's disappearance. Tounsi, who is suspected of organising Ben Barka's abduction, did not respond to two summonses sent to him in connection with his complaint about the programme.

The investigating judge who questioned Tual on November 20 asked him to reveal his sources for the report. Tual, who was accompanied by his lawyer, refused.

"It is outrageous that prosecutors are pressuring a journalist to name his sources for a report of a very political nature and at the same time are putting a judge in an embarrassing situation," RSF reacted.

"The right to the confidentiality of sources allows Tual, like any other journalist, to remain silent," it continued. "This right is explicitly enshrined in the 1881 press law and is currently being debated in parliament. The decision to investigate a case such as this logically suggests that it is politically-motivated and punitive."

Date posted: November 25, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 227