The mad week that was: from the 'Butler tapes' to Omar Raddad

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Last week, journalists from Mediapart and weekly news magazine Le Point stood trial on ‘invasion of privacy’ charges for having published secretly-recorded conversations that revealed corruption and profiteering by the entourage of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. The prosecution has demanded they receive symbolic fines, and a verdict will be delivered in January. Meanwhile, the tax administration demanded the online press make backpayments for VAT rates that no longer apply. The week was capped by developments in a long-running murder case where the possible proof of a shameful miscarriage of justice remains buried by inertia. Hubert Huertas pulls on a common thread linking all three events.

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Take the invasion of privacy case heard last week against the butler who recorded hours of conversations held in the personal office of ageing billionaire and L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and five journalists (three from Mediapart and two from weekly news magazine Le Point) who were involved in publishing their contents. At the time of the revelations, a lively debate opposed those who believed it to be useful and necessary to make the conversations public and those who, for moral or legal reasons, held that their public exposure was a violation of personal privacy.