ON THE MORNING OF FEBRUARY 4, employees members at Mediapart, the French impartial investigative web site, have been simply ending an editorial assembly when the bell to their workplace rang. During the assembly, that they had raised considerations in regards to the current shift taken by the French authorities to clamp down on the press’s proper to inform and residents’ proper to protest.
When a reporter went to the door simply after 11, he discovered two public prosecutors from the French Ministère Public—a department of the judiciary comparable to the Attorney General’s workplace and instantly linked to the chief chamber—and three policemen. The officers demanded to search the newsroom as a part of an investigation that they had launched after a string of current Mediapart stories. Mediapart refused, as a result of the prosecutors didn’t have a warrant.
Edwy Plenel, the founder and writer of Mediapart, calls the tried raid “an attack on the free press,” and an unprecedented attempt by Emmanuel Macron to reveal Mediapart’s sources and seize paperwork and recordings. In a press convention with the Mediapart journalists, Christophe Deloire, Reporters Without Borders’ Secretary General, referred to as the transfer “a freedom-destroying drift against the secrecy of sources.”
The inquiry stemmed from stories Mediapart published last week about two former Macron senior safety brokers, Alexandre Benalla and Vincent Crase, who have been indicted for beating up a younger protester through the 2018 May Day demonstrations. The story relied on recordings and paperwork, given to Mediapart by nameless sources, which revealed that Benalla and Crase conspired to conceal proof towards them; that Benalla organized a safety contract with a Putin- and mob-linked Russian oligarch; and that Benalla had dedicated perjury earlier than the French Senate. Mediapart’s stories about Benalla, the final of which ran this previous Friday, have thrust Macron into what could possibly be a significant scandal.