Survivors of Paris terror attacks sue French media

Lawyer claims Live TV coverage revealed the hiding place of six persons, endangering their lives

French media outlets are have been taken to court by survivors of January’s Islamist attacks in Paris who are claiming that their coverage of the siege endangered their lives.

Gunman Amedy Coulibaly stormed the Hyper Casher Jewish supermarket on 9 January, killing four people and taking others hostage. The six survivors, including a three-year-old child and a one-month-old baby, had been hiding from Coulibaly in the supermarket’s cold room.

The supermarket siege took place only two days after gunmen shot 12 people at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. All three gunmen were killed after three days of attacks killed a total of 17 people.

Patrick Klugman, a lawyer representing the group, said broadcasts from the scene during the siege had endangered those still alive inside, singling out the 24-hour news channel BFMTV, which revealed, live on air, that the group were in the cold room.

The lives of those hiding “could have been at risk if Coulibaly had been aware in real time what BFMTV was broadcasting,” Klugman said, pointing out that the gunman had followed the coverage of his raid on different channels and had, in fact, been in contact with BFMTV journalists.

Coverage by other outlets of security forces’ movements during the standoff were “tantamount to goading someone to commit a crime,” he said.

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 a €15,000 fine.