French Prosecution Investigates a News Site for Reporting on a Racist Attack

Bordeaux prosecution office has launched an inquiry into an Immigrant-focused website MedyaTurk for defamation and libel after reporting on series of alleged racist attacks on a Turkish-French family. Fatih Karakaya, Editor in chief of MedyaTurk, says French state aims to prevent coverage on racist attacks by targeting news platforms reporting such incidents.

Tanriverdi family near the French city of Bordeaux reached MedyaTurk info in 2019 after being targeted several times by neighbors. The family claimed to have been subjected to racially motivated attacks which included trespassing of their farm and damaging their barn which resulted in fleeing of livestocks. The incident ended in municipality authorities confiscating the wandering livestocks of the Turkish-French family. However, the mayor said MedyaTurk that there was indeed a dispute but not a racially motivated one.

Chloe Tanriverdi says neighbors target her family because she married a Turkish man, according to MedyaTurk. Chole Tanriverdi said to MedyaTurk that she was assaulted by neighbors and provided photos of the attack. She even filmed a neighbor just when being threatened. The barn of the family has also been burnt in the summer of 2019 while Tanriverdi family was on a vacation in Turkey.

Karakaya says his journalists even contacted the gendarmerie in charge of the region to get their version of the story but authorities declined to comment. “We did not even publish the names of the neighbors whom attacked the family,” said Karakaya.

However, Karakaya was shocked when he received notification from the Bordeaux prosecution office in October last year for defamation and libel. Prosecution will inquire MedyaTurk’s coverage on the subject and decide if there is any crime element to decide whether to move to the case to a court for a hearing or not.

WITCH-HUNT ON RACIST ATTACK COVERAGE

Fatih Karakaya says French authorities have no toleration for publishing of racially motivated attacks. According to Karakaya, French authorities target news platforms reporting racist attacks to intimidate and cause financial damages.

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