European Federation of Journalists

France: Wave of support for TV5Monde journalist Mohamed Kaci

Credits: THOMAS SAMSON / AFP

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the French unions le Syndicat National des Journalistes (SNJ), the CFDT-Journalistes, and dozens of journalists and media outlets in bringing its support to TV5MONDE journalist Mohamed Kaci. The journalist was summoned by his management to justify a question he asked during an interview, however, the meeting only took place after a public statement was issued. The EFJ deplores the fact that the journalist was not supported by his management but instead publicly denigrated and, as a result, exposed him on social media. 

On 15 November 2023, Mohamed Kaci was interviewing the spokesman of the Israeli army, Olivier Rafowicz. Live on the program “64’, Le Monde en français”, Rafowicz was asked about the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, in particular the operation carried out in the Al-Shifa hospital.

Following up on some of the spokesman’s answers, Kaci asked him for clarification: “Are you saying you are behaving like Hamas?,” he asked. Rafowicz did not answer, instead calling out Kaci for allegedly not behaving like a journalist. 

The interview was cut short, and a statement disowning the journalist was published on 20 November: “The journalistic rules applicable to any interview were not respected,” argued the editorial board. “Furthermore, the interview did not end in accordance with current standards of on-air control, but rather too abruptly. TV5MONDE’s news department deeply regrets this.” The statement was issued eight days before the meeting between the journalist and its direction.

We strongly disagree with the board’s decision to publicly distance itself from its employee before trying to solve the issue internally. 

“The SNJ is surprised by this statement, which looks like a disavowal,” says the French union in a press release, which reminds that the interview was the result of a joint effort, but the journalist is here the only one under the crossfires.

The interview was conducted in difficult conditions, and the journalist carried his task with professionalism when talking live about a sensitive topic. 

The EFJ condemns the practice of public disavowal used by TV5Monde against one of its journalists. The management has handed over to a potential mob a journalist who had not committed any ethical fault and who, in no way, deserved such treatment. We expect the editorial management to protect the independence of the journalists under its responsibility, and not to give in to outside political pressure. We demand a public apology from the management of TV5Monde.

This statement by EFJ is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.