David-Xavier Weiss, a national secretary of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), has pressed charges against the satirical newspaper Le Canard enchaîné over an article that revealed his homosexuality.

"/> David-Xavier Weiss, a national secretary of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), has pressed charges against the satirical newspaper Le Canard enchaîné over an article that revealed his homosexuality.

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UMP official sues newspaper over outing

David-Xavier Weiss, a national secretary of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), has pressed charges against the satirical newspaper Le Canard enchaîné over an article that revealed his homosexuality.

Weiss says the newspaper crossed the line in an article about a controversy surrounding politician Roger Karoutchi and regional elections in 2010. In the piece, Karoutchi was quoted as calling Weiss his “companion of seven years.”

“I have to have a talk with my father and with the person I live with today,” he said in an interview with the newspaper 20 Minutes.

Weiss, who is the national secretary in charge of transportation and mobility, is accusing the weekly publication, known for its investigative reporting and an irreverent attitude toward politicians, of defamation and of infringing on his private life.

Karoutchi has also said he would press charges against Le Canard enchaîné, calling the matter “extremely serious.” The former state secretary came out publicly as gay in January 2009.

“I’ve always talked openly about myself, but I never wanted to reveal the names of those people who share my life,” he said.

The process of “outing,” or revealing the sexuality of closeted gays and lesbians, continues to be controversial and is very rare in France.

Traditionally, many aspects of the private lives of politicians have been off-limits to the press. While details of public figures’ personal lives are often known by journalists, they have generally been kept out of the media.

“I am against ‘outing’ in principle, but in this case it’s complicated,” said Jean-Luc Romero, who was the first politician in France “outed” when a gay magazine revealed his sexuality in 2000. “This is about the alleged companion of a public figure who himself has come out.”

The head of the UMP, Jean-François Copé, has refused to comment on the matter.

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MEDIA

France slams Belarus’ ‘arbitrary’ crackdown on foreign media

France on Sunday condemned an "arbitrary" crackdown against the media in Belarus after the accreditation of several journalists working for foreign media was withdrawn in the wake of disputed presidential elections.

France slams Belarus' 'arbitrary' crackdown on foreign media
Belarus opposition supporters protesting against disputed presidential elections results in Minsk on August 27. Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP
“The arbitrary measures taken by the Belarusian authorities against journalists violate press freedom,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
   
“I call on the Belarusian authorities to reverse these measures without delay,” he added, saying that the crisis in Belarus requires “the establishment of an inclusive national dialogue”.
   
“Repressive measures against journalists cannot help,” he said.
   
Belarusian authorities on Saturday withdrew the accreditation of journalists working for several foreign media, including AFP, ahead of a major demonstration Sunday challenging the results of the presidential election.
   
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has faced unprecedented protests since the disputed August 9 election in which he claimed a landslide victory with 80 percent of the vote in a poll
that the opposition says was rigged.
   
 
Belarus government spokesman Anatoly Glaz said the decision to revoke the media accreditations was taken on the recommendation of the country's counter-terrorism unit.
   
He did not specify how many journalists were affected by the measure, but foreign media including the BBC, Reuters and Radio Liberty reported the withdrawal of accreditation of several of their journalists.
   
Belarusian journalists working for Agence France-Presse also had their accreditation revoked.
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