Justice prohibits Mediapart from publishing new revelations

The court prohibited Mediapart to publish new information taken from audio recordings of the mayor of Saint-Étienne Gaël Perdriau, suspected of being involved in a case of sextape blackmail and of having thus wanted to put pressure on his former first deputy Gilles Artigues, filmed at unwittingly in a hotel room, during an organized meeting with an escort-boy.

“This is unprecedented prior censorship,” denounced the media behind the revelation of this affair on Monday. “It’s a very exceptional procedure, never seen in the field of the press”, estimates Edwy Plenel the director of the publication.

On Friday, an order from the Paris court was issued urgently at the request of Gaël Perdriau. “Mediapart was not informed of this procedure” and could not “defend its work and its rights”, still denounces Edwy Plenel in a post published Monday.

Invasion of privacy

The ordinance prohibits Mediapart to disseminate “new revelations on the political practices of the mayor of Saint-Étienne”, based in particular on the same audio recordings which made it possible to reveal the scandal, under penalty of exposing oneself to a fine of 10,000 euros “per extract published” . The court considers that this recording, which was made by Gilles Artigues in the mayor’s office on November 27, 2017, is “unlawful”. The injunction concerns all “electronic, paper or other” media, specifies the text.

According to Mediapart, the mayor of Saint-Etienne invoked “an invasion of privacy” to block the publication of these new revelations. The journalist who conducted the investigation had previously asked him for his position on “new facts”. According to Edwy Plenel, these facts “question the practices of the mayor of Saint-Étienne, in particular in the use of rumor as a political instrument”, with the target of Laurent Wauquiez, the LR president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

” It is the hospital that does not care about charity “

“It is the hospital that does not care about charity because Gaël Perdriau, who used the invasion of privacy to get rid of one of his political adversaries, invokes it today to prevent the publication of remarks that he held himself concerning a personality of his political family”, reacts André Buffard, the lawyer of Gilles Artigues, for whom the approach is “grotesque”.

“The publication he is trying to prevent is not false information”, he continues, believing that the “revelation, inevitable in fine” will provoke “very violent reactions from the political world”. The lawyers of Mediapart “implement all possible legal remedies to quickly put an end to this censorship”, further specifies Edwy Plenel.

As a reminder, the affair began in August when the media published the confessions of the former companion of a right-wing municipal deputy accusing himself of having trapped Gilles Artigues by having him filmed to blackmail him in a room of hotel with an escort-boy. According to his confessions, this “barbouzerie” had been organized at the request of the mayor – who has always denied any involvement – and remunerated via fictitious services invoiced to cultural associations financed by the municipality.

The Lyon public prosecutor’s office has opened a judicial investigation after a complaint for blackmail by Gilles Artigues. Various protagonists in the case, including the mayor, his deputy and his chief of staff were placed in police custody and then released, telephones and computers were seized for analysis. The very embarrassing recordings released by Mediapart were made by Gilles Artigues and were added to the file, according to information from AFP.

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