- In his book Ghosts, the journalist David Thomson gave the floor to a Niçois returned from Syria who accused the mayor of having done nothing to neutralize the propaganda of an ISIS recruiter.
- Attacked for defamation by Christian Estrosi, the reporter was acquitted at first instance but the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal, which ruled only on civil matters, had condemned him.
The file is closed. The Court of Cassation on Tuesday overturned the conviction of journalist David Thomson, sued for defamation by the LR mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi for his book-investigation on young French people who went to jihad in Syria.
In Ghosts, published in 2016 after the attack on the Promenade des Anglais, the reporter from RFI et des Jours recalled that Nice had been an important breeding ground for French jihadists and gave the floor to a Niçois returning from Syria who reproached the mayor for not having nothing was done to neutralize the propaganda of an ISIS recruiter, Oumar Diaby.
The journalist, Albert-Londres Prize 2017, had been acquitted at first instance but the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal, which ruled only on the civil level, condemned him on October 29, 2019 to pay 3,000 euros of damages to the elected Nice.
He “threatened investigative journalism that he would have liked to silence”
The highest court of the judiciary considered that the words prosecuted “did not exceed the admissible limits of freedom of expression”. David Thomson “contented himself with introducing and explaining” remarks made by a third party “without repeating them on his own account” and he carried out a “serious investigation” which “took part in a debate of general interest” , according to the final decision since the court did not order a referral.
Before trying to understand how its @VilledeNice became under his reign one of the main centers of jihadism in France @cestrosi preferred to file a complaint against the facts and against a journalist. Justice definitively rejects his complaints against my work https://t.co/1jFUlvTpEy
– David Thomson (@_DavidThomson) December 1, 2020
The procedure brought by Christian Estrosi “threatened investigative journalism that he would have wanted to silence,” responded David Thomson’s lawyer, Me Martin Pradel. “Before trying to understand how his city of Nice became under his reign one of the main centers of jihadism in France”, the mayor “preferred to file a complaint against facts and against a journalist,” tweeted the journalist. welcoming the decision.
Asked by AFP, the lawyer of the elected did not respond immediately.