28 January 1998


Journalist attacked

Incident details

Frederic Lepinay



(RSF/IFEX) - On 8 January 1998, Frederic Lepinay, a journalist with the
daily Lille newspaper "La Voix du Nord", was reporting on the occupation of
the Association pour l'emploi dans l'industrie et le commerce (ASSEDIC) in
Lille by a defense association for the unemployed. While taking photographs
of the evacuation of the site by the police around 12:00 hours, an officer
addressed him as follows: "Lepinay, stop taking photos! The police have had
enough of having their faces in the papers! They are people like the
rest...!" Lepinay refused to obey and was then confronted by a group of
undercover officers who threw him on the ground. His camera was taken from
him, and was returned a little later without the film. Several hours later
the film was returned to him exposed. Lepinay was subsequently awarded a day
off from work. He filed a complaint for "violence committed by persons
invested with public authority," "the destruction of goods belonging to
others," and the undermining of the freedom of work and expression."

Background Information

RSF reminds readers that on 18 December 1996 and 15 May 1997, it asked the
predecessor of the Minister of the Interior Jean-Pierre Chevenement,
Jean-Louis Debre, to open an inquiry into the police aggressions taken
against an M6 cameraman in Grenoble, an Associated Press photographer in
Bayonne, and an Associated Press photographer in Saint-Denis (See IFEX
alerts of 15 May 1997 and 19 December 1996). RSF notes that its appeal was
never answered

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • denouncing the behavior of the police in this incident involving Lepinay
  • supporting Lepinay in his legal action
  • urging that the police lend their help in his case

    Appeals To

    Monsieur Jean-Pierre Chevenement
    Ministre de l'Interieur
    Paris, France
    fax : +33 1 43 59 89 50

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Reporters Without Borders
    47, rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris, France
    rsf (@) rsf.org

    Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
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