Journalist summoned by French intelligence worried about freedom of the press

A journalist summoned this week by French intelligence about an investigative report into the army says the development makes him worried about freedom of the press in the country.

"It's an important downward spiral for freedom of the press in France, which creates an unhealthy climate for our democracy," said Geoffrey Livolsi, a co-founder of Disclose, which calls itself a “non-profit investigative newsroom.”

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, he wondered aloud if "it's still possible to investigate about the French army."

In 2018 Livolsi, along with two journalists working for Radio France, Benoit Collombat and Jacques Monin, published an investigation into influence peddling in the French army, Disclose said Wednesday.

France’s General Directorate for Internal Security summoned the journalists over the investigation, and they are due to be heard on Dec. 14.

The journalists are suspected to "have disclosed information revealing the identity of a special unit member.”

Livolsi decried the summons, mentioning how this year four other journalists and in 2019 eight others were summoned by the directorate.

According to the article, the national financial prosecutor’s office is investigating suspicions of influence peddling and favoritism in the French army, particularly air transport subcontracts in Africa.

Livolsi said “this information was and remains of public interest.”

In a statement published Wednesday on its website, the Disclose co-founder said the journalists, if found guilty, may face five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 ($78,710).

The journalists were not notified of an investigation targeting them, he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency