After twelve days of unprecedented censorship, a court in Paris has overturned the gagging order that had banned Mediapart from publishing an investigation into the political practices of Gaël Perdriau, mayor of Saint-Étienne. The injunction was granted on November 18th following an ex parte application by the mayor's lawyer. As it was an ex parte application – meaning that only the applicant's side was present - Mediapart was not informed of it and was thus not present to defend its case. That injunction was widely condemned, with the broad-left political coalition NUPES describing it as “incomprehensible”. Now, on Wednesday November 30th, the same judge who made the first ruling has overturned her own verdict, stating that she had been misinformed by Perdriau's lawyer at the initial application. Fabrice Arfi reports on this victory for the freedom of the press.
Following the extraordinary gagging order issued by a Paris judge last Friday to prevent Mediapart from publishing a report on a serious political scandal surrounding Gaël Perdriau, mayor of the French town of Saint-Étienne, numerous fellow journalists, the legal profession, rights groups and cross-party members of both houses of the French parliament have expressed their outrage.
A Paris judge has imposed a gagging order on Mediapart which prohibits it from publishing new revelations in its investigation into the highly questionable political practices of Gaël Perdriau, mayor of Saint-Étienne. The Mediapart investigation has previously revealed the blackmailing of the town’s deputy mayor, a rival of Perdriau's, using a compromising ‘sex tape’ video. As Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel details here, the gagging order, which was made at the request of Perdriau and without allowing Mediapart any legal opportunity to oppose it, is an unprecedented attack against the freedom of the press in France.
Prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation after Mediapart revealed claims that the mayor of Saint-Étienne in south-east France, Gaël Perdriau, blackmailed his deputy mayor Gilles Artigues using a videotape of the latter with a male escort in an hotel room. The apparent aim of the blackmail was to ensure that Perdriau, who is from the right-wing Les Républicains (LR), maintained political control over his deputy Gilles Artigues, a devout Catholic and former Member of Parliament from the centre-right UDI party. After the initial revelations Mediapart then published extracts from recordings which revealed both Gaël Perdriau and his chief of staff threatening the deputy mayor over the sex tape. Both men, along with three others, have now been questioned in custody by detectives. Antton Rouget reports on an affair that has provoked widespread condemnation across the political spectrum.
by Antton Rouget
Directeur de la publication : Edwy Plenel
Direction éditoriale : Stéphane Alliès et Carine Fouteau
Le journal MEDIAPART est édité par la Société Editrice de Mediapart (SAS).
Durée de la société : quatre-vingt-dix-neuf ans à compter du 24 octobre 2007.
Actionnaires directs et indirects : Société pour l’Indépendance de Mediapart, Fonds pour une Presse Libre, Association pour le droit de savoir
Rédaction et administration : 127 avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75011 Paris
Courriel : email@example.com
Téléphone : + 33 (0) 1 44 68 99 08
Propriétaire, éditeur, imprimeur : Société Editrice de Mediapart
Abonnement : pour toute information, question ou conseil, le service abonnés de Mediapart peut être contacté par courriel à l’adresse : firstname.lastname@example.org ou par courrier à l'adresse : Service abonnés Mediapart, 11 place Charles de Gaulle 86000 Poitiers. Vous pouvez également adresser vos courriers à Société Editrice de Mediapart, 127 avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75011 Paris.