European Federation of Journalists

France: Full support for journalist Nassira El Moaddem and her media Arrêt sur images

Logo Arrêt sur images

Since 1 May 2024, French journalist Nassira El Moaddem has been the target of an unprecedented campaign of racist harassment. Her media, Arrêt sur images (ASI), specialised in media issues, has also received several death threats referring to the Charlie Hebdo attack. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its French affiliates the SNJ, SNJ-CGT and CFDT-Journalistes in expressing full solidarity with Nassira El Moaddem and ASI, and in calling for appropriate sanctions to be taken against the perpetrators of the threats.

The harassment campaign started with a tweet posted by Nassira El Moaddem on 30 April 2024, in reaction to an article about the French Football Federation’s ban on the wearing of helmets and tights in the name of secularism. “Country of degenerate racists. There are no other words. Shame,” reacted El Moaddem on her X account, which has 116,000 followers.

Invited to comment on Nassira El Moaddem’s tweet in a TV programme, Julien Odoul, MP for the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party, said her tweet was “shameful” and called for her suspension from the public service Radio France, where she hasn’t worked since 2022. Odoul added that “if she’s not happy (with France), she can leave”, implying that the journalist is not a French citizen. Since then, the journalist has received hundreds of racist and misogynistic messages online, including death threats, also targeting members of Arrêts sur images’ staff. 

According to Arrêt sur images, the far-right is behind this orchestrated campaign against the journalist, who has deciphered the party’s political actions and the editorial interference of media tycoon Vincent Bolloré.

The French journalists’ unions have jointly expressed their full support for Nassira El Moaddem. 

“CFDT-Journalistes expects appropriate penalties to be imposed on the perpetrators of these racist remarks, which are prohibited by law and do not fall within the scope of freedom of expression,” said the CFDT-Journalistes in a statement.

The situation escalated when Arrêt sur images received two death threats on 5 May referring to the terrorist attacks on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which killed 11 journalists and media workers in Paris on 7 January 2015. They include calls for the newsroom to be “burnt down” and predict “a Charlie”.

“The hateful comments received by Nassira El Moaddem and her media are unprecedentedly violent and should not be taken lightly. We strongly condemn the infamous insults and death threats, and call for an investigation to find and punish the perpetrators. This cannot go unpunished,” told EFJ Secretary General Ricardo Gutiérrez.

This statement was produced by EFJ as 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.