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.
In early June 2022 state officials signed an order obliging an Algerian doctor who has been working in France for seven years to leave the country within 30 days. This order was finally annulled by a court at the end of September but while he waits for a new visa to be issued the doctor is still prevented from working. Meanwhile his prolonged absence hastened the closure of cancer ward beds at the hospital where he was an intern. Camille Polloni reports.
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.
The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), which runs the top-tier professional football leagues in France, has voted to obtain a 224.5 million-euro loan from the French state to help out its member clubs, especially those in the elite Ligue 1 division. But even despite this help some clubs are on the brink of going into administration. Mediapart can reveal confidential documents which show the risky nature of the loan arrangement, which the state agreed to without making any solvency checks. As Laurent Mauduit writes, there is a risk that French taxpayers could end up having to pay the bill for the excesses of the football industry.