European Federation of Journalists

France: Blast journalist detained for 32 hours for refusing to disclose confidential sources 

Credits: Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt / AFP

On 18 June 2024, a journalist working for the French independent news portal Blast was arbitrarily arrested by the police and detained for refusing to hand over her sources. She was released after thirty-two hours of detention. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its French affiliates the SNJ, SNJ-CGT and CFDT-Journalistes in denouncing this blatant violation of the confidentiality of journalistic sources and arbitrary detention. 

On 18 June 2024, protestors gathered outside of the headquarters of the company Exxelia, which is at the heart of a judicial investigation by the Paris court for complicity in war crimes, following a complaint by Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT). The Blast journalist, who has been investigating French arms sales to Israel for weeks, was arrested in the 11th arrondissement of Paris after covering the demonstration. The journalist was also told by the police officer, her press card did not authorise her to be at the protests. “As a result of our journalist’s refusal to give the unlock code for her phone – in other words, to hand over to the police the fruits of her labour and, potentially, access to his documents, files and sources – her police custody was extended,” wrote Blast on its news portal. 

“As of the late morning of 19 June, the Blast journalist was still in police custody, meaning that she has spent more than 24 hours in detention for doing her job,” warned the SNJ. The SNJ-CGT also called for her immediate release. The Paris public prosecutor’s office confirmed to the media outlet that the police custody had been extended, indicating that an investigation had been opened into participation in a group with a view to committing damage and wilful damage as a group. Blast finally announced the journalist’ release on 19 June, with proceedings dismissed, after two days and one night in custody.

“The French law and the European legal standards on the protection of sources clearly establishes a journalist’s right not to reveal confidential information. Her release does not erase this new attack on freedom of information. The arbitrary detention, and the pressure on the journalist to reveal her sources over the last two days is scandalous,” said EFJ General Secretary 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.