Sued for defamation by a former president of the National Union of Students of France (UNEF) after the publication of testimonies of former activists denouncing a system of sexist violence and violence within the student union, the newspaper Release was released on Thursday, September 7, by the Paris court.
For the 17e correctional chamber, specialized in press affairs, the investigation carried out by the daily was “serious”. There have been “caution in expression” And “absence of exaggeration in the tone used”. ” Even if [le plaignant] Jean-Baptiste Prévost may have been hurt by the content of the comments made (…), the benefit of good faith may be granted” to the authors of the article, the court ruled.
A condemnation of the newspaper would bear “a disproportionate attack on freedom of expression” And “would be likely to have a dissuasive effect on the exercise of this freedom”the court further underlined.
“Multitude of abuses”
Jean-Baptiste Prévost, president of the UNEF from 2007 to 2011, filed a complaint shortly after the publication of the investigation Releaseon February 19, 2018, attacking seven pages he deemed defamatory.
According to the daily, the presidency of Jean-Baptiste Prévost at the head of the second student union in France had been marked “by a multitude of deviations”. The UNEF then became “a hunting ground” for its senior executives, wrote Release.
This investigation was published at the height of the #metoo movement and three months after a tribune in The world of 83 former activists or executives of the UNEF denouncing the character “systemic” sexist and violence at the UNEF and calling for free speech. Release had collected the testimonies of sixteen women denouncing acts of harment, ault or on the part of UNEF leaders.
Jean-Baptiste Prévost, a former student of Sciences Po Paris who subsequently worked in ministerial offices, had been specifically accused by the daily newspaper for having “drew telephone numbers from the union files to increase relations” and to have “benefited” of his status as president.
During the trial in May, Mr. Prévost denounced a “fabricated novel” lived like “a real humiliation”.
The World with AFP