Logo of l’union. Photo: Logo of website.
France: Investigation opened into attempted murder after attack on journalist

Press-ECPMF

02 March 2021

No Comments

mfrr logo

A photographer for the regional daily L’Union, Christian Lantenois, was seriously injured on Saturday 27 February while covering tensions in the Croix-Rouge district of Reims. Lantenois is currently in the intensive care unit in Reims’ hospital in a serious condition. We join the European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ/FIJ) in strongly condemning this despicable act. An investigation has been opened for attempted murder.

Christian Lantenois, 65 years old, went to Croix-Rouge on Saturday 27 February at around 3 pm in a car identifiable as belonging to the newspaper L’Union to cover the tensions in the district. The photographer was found shortly afterwards, in great distress on the ground near his car. The circumstances of the attack are not yet known.

Authorities in France have opened an investigation for attempted murder. The newspaper reported that the journalist’s condition is worrying but stable.

“Nothing and no one will hinder our will to inform, nor our freedom to act and report the news”, hammered the editors of L’Union in an editorial and recalled the importance of continuing to cover the difficult districts in Reims. “Giving up this reporting is like closing our eyes, abandoning a piece of territory and those who live there. Giving up is like betraying reality, and making the daily life of thousands of citizens fall into oblivion for good”.

The French journalists’ unions, the SNJ, SNJ-CGT and CFDT-Journalistes expressed their support in a joint declaration:

“With the tragic events of Saturday afternoon, our colleague has become, in spite of himself, the symbol of the scorned journalist on whom malicious people have given themselves the right to unleash themselves. This is a serious attack on the freedom to inform”.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary said: “We express our full support to Christian Lantenois and the editorial staff of L’Union. To target a journalist who is just doing his job is to deny the importance of a free and independent press, to deny the public the right to know and to send a chilling message to the media. We will never accept the targeting of our colleagues in France as elsewhere. We demand that justice be done as soon as possible.”

“We are outraged to learn of this new aggression against a photographer in France. Our thoughts are with Christian Lantenois and his family. We monitor more and more violence against journalists in Europe. We are sounding the alarm once again, this must stop”, said Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ General Secretary.

This statement has been coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. This project provides legal and practical support, public advocacy and information to protect journalists and media workers. The MFRR is organised by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Institute for Applied Informatics at the University of Leipzig (InfAI), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The project is co-funded by the European Commission. www.mfrr.eu

Read news by categories:

Related news

Press release

Launching Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) III

The consortium running the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) has been granted €1.95 million in funding from the European Commission to continue its work to defend and support press and media freedom throughout all EU member states, candidate countries, and Ukraine.

READ MORE
Feature

“Moscow wants us to shut up and not tell the truth” – Interview with Ukrainian JiR Kristina Zelenyuk

Kristina Zelenyuk is a Ukrainian journalist with over ten years' experience. She currently works with the TV Channel 1+1 and the website TSN, one of Ukraine’s biggest media outlets. Kristina is currently participating in ECPMF's Journalist-in-Residence programme in Leipzig. 

READ MORE
Statement

Fidesz Media Council moves to silence independent station Tilos Rádió

The partners of the MFRR express serious concern over the decision by the Fidesz-controlled Media Council to block the frequency license renewal of Tilos Rádió.

READ MORE
Mission

Who is afraid of journalists? The MFRR Italy Mission Report

On 11 May, partners of the MFRR launched the report of its fact-finding mission to Italy during a live event with journalists and media freedom stakeholders.

READ MORE
Feature

#HereToReport — The value and perils of photojournalism at protests

As part of the MFRR #HereToReport campaign, this article examines the threats facing photojournalists covering protests in EU member states and candidate countries.

READ MORE
Statement

Czech Republic: Independence of public broadcasters must be insulated against future attacks

Partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) have published a statement urging the Czech Government to come good on its promises to strengthen the independence of public broadcasters and to seize the opportunity to put press freedom at the centre of its EU presidency programme.

READ MORE