French newspaper Le Monde 'concerned' after journalist summoned by intelligence services

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By Pauline Bock
French newspaper Le Monde 'concerned' after journalist summoned by intelligence services
Copyright  Francois Mori/Pool via REUTERS

A journalist from the French newspaper Le Monde, Ariane Chemin, was summoned on Wednesday to meet with French intelligence services. She is the fifth French reporter to receive such a summons in the past weeks.

The subject of the meeting appeared to be Chemin's reporting on the French president's former aide, Alexandre Benalla, and especially an article by her from January 2019.

Chemin was the first to break the news that the aide had dressed as police to attack protesters at a march in May 2018, sparking a scandal.

The investigation by the French Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (DGSI) relates to the Le Monde coverage of the Benalla scandal, the newspaper revealed in an editorial about their journalist's summons.

The paper ''maintains all the information'' published in Chemin's reports, the editorial added.

''We express our worries regarding this summons: the public interest implies the capacity to investigate the links and relationships of collaborators of the Elysée and Matignon, whatever their previous careers."

Ariane Chemin is the fifth journalist to be summoned by the DGSI, after three reporters from the independent investigation media Disclose NGO and one from the investigation department at Radio France were summoned earlier this month regarding the publication of revelations on French weapons used in the war in Yemen.

Two journalists from Disclose were originally summoned last week and a third one was summoned on Wednesday, the same day as the one from Le Monde.

At the time of the first Disclose NGO summons, their lawyer told Reuters: "We think these journalists were doing their jobs, and that this is an attempt to harm the protection of their sources."

"We will obviously withhold our information and express our concern about this summons: the public interest requires being able to investigate the entourage and links maintained by employees of the Elysée or Matignon, regardless of their previous career.

"This summons ... is even more worrying that it comes after similar procedures, used very recently against other journalists who reported on information of public interest regarding the use of French arms in Yemen," the Le Monde editorial read.

The office for the Paris public prosecutor did not immediately respond to Euronews' request for comment.