“Reporterre” denounces the fine imposed on one of its journalists

Thursday September 16, “Daily ecology” in line Reporterre filed a hierarchical appeal with the Minister of the Interior. Its motive: a “Infringement of the freedom to inform”. Its subject: the condemnation of a 750 euro fine pronounced against the journalist Alexandre-Reza Kokabi, on July 16, 2021, for “Breach of airport security”.

On June 26, 2020, the day of the reopening of air traffic in Orly, the reporter was on the airport runways with around thirty activists from the civil disobedience movement Extinction Rebellion. The activists sought to denounce, in a media action, the responsibility of air traffic in global warming. “I did not want to leave the story of this action to the representatives of the movement alone, on the one hand, and to Aéroports de Paris, on the other, Mr. Kokabi reports. I was the only journalist there, and I knew I was in my right to inform. “

Neither his denials nor the possession of the press card prevented the police from taking him on board and keeping him in custody for eleven hours. He was sentenced for “Have accessed the security zones with restricted access without a legitimate reason “, and have traveled there without having been authorized to do so. An inadmissible conviction for Hervé Kempf, the director of Reporterre : “To cover an illegal action, for a journalist, is not to be complicit in the action”, he recalls.

“A way to silence us”

This is also what the Annecy police court estimated at the end of April, when it had to judge a similar case. September 12, 2020, Gérard Fumex, the creator of the site Librinfo74, had been arrested during a protest action by environmental activists at the Annecy aerodrome. While a 200 euros fine had been requested against him, the journalist was finally released. “In May, another journalist from the local radio station H20 was also released for the same facts”, add the journalists’ unions SNJ and SNJ-CGT, who are joining forces to denounce these attacks on press freedom.

“I have seen journalists lose blood while doing their job”, adds Alexandre-Reza Kokabi, in reference to the violence of which they were sometimes the target during demonstrations of “yellow vests”. Even if it is not the case, “That’s not a reason to let it go “, he believes. “Deprivation of liberty is still a way to silence us. ” That day, he had, in fact, not been able to deliver his report on time.

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