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Paris terror hostages sue media over live coverage

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Paris terror hostages sue media over live coverage
French police evacuate hostages after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP
08:55 CEST+02:00
Six people who hid in a supermarket refrigerator during January's Islamist attacks in Paris have sued French media for broadcasting their location live during the siege.

Images broadcast from the scene on January 9th, when gunman Amedy Coulibaly stormed into the Hyper Casher Jewish supermarket, killing four and taking others hostage, "lacked the most basic precautions" and endangered those still alive inside, said a lawyer representing the group, Patrick Klugman.

Klugman singled out French 24-hour news channel BFMTV, which revealed live on air that the group -- including a three-year-old child and a one-month-old baby -- was hiding from Coulibaly in the cold room, where they were taken by one of the supermarket's employees.

"The working methods of media in real time in this type of situation were tantamount to goading someone to commit a crime," Klugman told AFP Thursday, roundly criticizing coverage by other outlets of security forces movements during the standoff.

The lives of those hiding "could have been at risk if Coulibaly had been aware in real time what BFMTV was broadcasting," Klugman said, adding that the jihadist was following the coverage of his raid on different channels and had been in contact with BFMTV journalists.

The heavily televised events at Hyper Cacher in eastern Paris came two days after Cherif and Said Kouachi shot 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. All three gunmen were killed after three days of attacks the killed a total of 17 people and deeply shocked France.

The lawsuit charges media outlets with endangering the lives of others by deliberately ignoring security protocols, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison and 15,000-euro ($16,300) fine.

In February France's major TV and radio networks were formally rapped by the French broadcast regulator, the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), for what it considered to be serious "breaches" in their coverage of the terror attacks.

The warnings were issued for violations including: showing the moment two of the Islamist gunmen cold-bloodedly shot dead a policeman; identifying the two gunmen before police did so publicly; reporting that people were hiding in a Jewish supermarket taken over by a third gunmen; and providing live video feeds of the deadly police assault on the supermarket.

The broadcast regulator determined that 36 breaches of broadcast rules had been committed, to different degrees of gravity, by state channels France 24, France 2, France 3, France 5, France Info, France Inter and RFI as well as commercial broadcasters TF1, LCI, Euronews, Canal+, BFMTV, iTele, Europe 1, RMC and RTL.

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