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“Nothing to see here. Please move along…” Communiqué from the National Journalists’ Union

Monday 16 April 2018

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“Nothing to see here. Please move along…” Communiqué from the National Journalists’ Union

Friday 13 April 2018 – Notre-Dame-des-Landes – Nothing to see here. Please move along… “200 Gendarmerie cameras on the ground,” Gérard Collomb proudly announced on LCI. The Minister of Interior calmly takes credit for having barred professional reporters in order to show the public “controlled” images of the expulsion of the Zadistes at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. “What we wanted is for viewers to have an objective judgement from the start,” the head of France’s police said in justification of what is nothing short of an assault on freedom of the press. On the ground, our colleagues observed these so-called “confreres” filming teams of professional journalists. Dressed in their security armor like all the other riot troops, some of these gendarmes were wearing “Press” identification on their backs. With no limit to the resources deployed, gendarmes used drones providing aerial views which were made available to the media without charge. On arriving at the sites, our confreres (the real ones) were corralled at the edge of the road and then removed from the Zone under police escort and prevented from filming. Some managed to return to the ZAD via alternate paths; they were detained, threatened, and prevented from entering. The SNJ (National Journalists’ Union) of France Télévisions strongly condemns this trend that consists in supplying, under the pretext of safety, thoroughly sanitized “turnkey” images of the government’s so-called “sensitive” operations. The SNJ France Télévisions regrets that in choosing to broadcast this footage from the gendarmerie, the management of France Télévisions indirectly approves of this censorship being imposed on our teams in the field. The French Presidency has chosen control over information, in contempt of the profession of journalist and in contempt of the citizens, who have a right to free and independent information. At a time when the government is launching a proposed law against “fake news,” it is clearly contradictory for it to be fabricating it itself. Paris, 11 April 2018

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