On 3 June, a 50-year old journalist working for the public broadcaster France 3 Normandie was attacked while filming in front of the mosque As-salam in Petit-Couronne, a city near Rouen. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliates in France in strongly condemning the attack.
The cameraman was alone taking background footage of the mosque for a report on the imam who was facing trial the same day, when suddenly a man, followed by a group of around 20 men, asked him to stop filming. The journalist was hit, thrown on the ground and had his camera broken. He was then locked up in the compound of the mosque, until the police intervened.
“For several months now, in particular in Rouen, journalists have become easy prey and scapegoats. This situation cannot continue any longer”, wrote France 3 Normandie Rouen, the SNJ, SNJ-CGT and CFDT-Journalistes in a joint press release. “It is high time to realize that filming alone is not without risk”, they add, demanding for covering groups of at least two people.
The journalist was found in shock, slightly injured and given five days of medical leave. One of the alleged assaillant was arrested on 3 June and taken into custody. He was then charged with violent robbery in a group on 5 June and set under judicial supervision. According to media report, it would be the president of the association that manages the mosque.
A court in Boulogne-Sur-Mer has meanwhile sentenced the mosque’s imam to two years in prison on a charge of helping migrants to cross the Channel illegally.
Photo credit: France 3 Normandie Logo