French ‘France-2’ television channel aired a biased report on Azerbaijan, which presented lopsided and slanderous information about the country in its weekly ‘Cash Investigation’ program on 2 September. It coincided with another thought-provoking development involving representatives of French media. According to the press, two French journalists – Eric Laurent and Catherine Gracie attempted to blackmail the King of Morocco.
They demanded three million euro in exchange for not publishing information discrediting the monarch. ‘Editions du Seuil’ publishing house had confirmed that journalists were indeed working on such a book. Both journalists – already authors of another book about the king – were caught red handed whilst receiving part of money from Moroccan representative.
By the way, weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’ that once amassed support for humiliating Muslims’ Prophet just to disgrace itself for caricature of Syrian child later, also fits into the same category. Such events have raised the issue of European journalists’ commitment to press deontology – professional ethics.
According to research, opinion about European journalists’ adherence to deontology in press is far from unequivocal. Hungarian journalist kicking a Syrian refugee illustrated another face of European media that has become overwhelmed by euphoria of impunity for blatant breach of law. Although there also is objective, impartial and fair reporting, such sense of irresponsibility translates into publication of information that is untruthful. In some cases, there is even purposeful encouragement of that.
For example, 47 publications released across European Union and candidature countries were identified as slanderous, from January to September of this year. Another 120 journalist publications were prevented from being published for various reasons. France accounted for 10 of those, followed by Germany – 9, Hungary – 9 and Spain – 7.
Moreover, criminal investigations were launched against 16 media representatives for illegal activity, civil suits were filed against 20, 47 were arrested or detained, 103 subjected to legal action, and another 32 were dismissed by their employers.
When it comes to slanderous ‘Cash Investigation’ program on Azerbaijan, examining this piece of reporting reveals investigation tactics that clearly diverge with media deontology. These journalists dare to act as detectives, with court verdict in their hands; allowing themselves liberty of investigating, prosecuting and even sentencing individuals of their choice. In imperative tone and a manner that defies ethics, they demand a high-ranking individual, by the way entitled to diplomatic privileges, to respond to their questions.
This is not surprising because according to biography of Elise Luce – program’s author – she holds no university degree. Her racketeering skills apparently helped her land the top job, despite shallow prejudices and poor analytical thinking, as well as ignorance of law and media ethics.
Known for her impudence, this woman’s powerful parrot skills have helped her along the way. Once a news anchor on French television, this woman had lost her husband Martin Bourjois to blood illness in 2011 – something that caused trouble and inadvertently affected her mentality. Trying to overcome her trials and tribulations, she had come up with ‘Cash Investigation’ immediately after. However, she resorted to racketeering methods – ignoring ethics, defying ruddiness, and not caring whatsoever for accuracy of her reporting. Conversely, she developed sense of pride for hurting and bothering others. She aimed to escape anthropophobic state in which she had remained. Through frustrating people, she aimed to prove that she was not the only one suffering from such a psychological disorder.
As for this program, she found herself appropriate partner – Laurent Richard. Similar to his colleague, he happens to be media representative that confuses racketeering, investigation and intelligence activity. This man had forgotten about his professional duties when, following instructions from his patrons, he attempted to intervene in Azerbaijan’s domestic affairs, trying to produce a report on ‘violations of human rights’ in Azerbaijan, whilst accompanying French President during official visit to the country in 2014. He found himself deported.
This fantastic duo has sought revenge against Azerbaijan since then. They eventually succeeded in broadcasting slander against Azerbaijan in run-up to hearings in European Parliament, held not without help of quarters hostile to this country, and at the time of high-profile Azerbaijani delegation’s visit to France.
Therefore, it is not surprising that in the past many French organizations filed lawsuits against ‘Cash Investigation’ regarding false allegations aired in their shows. These programs based on fabrications even became a choice of those who regarded them as profiting opportunity.
Yet they seem to forget one thing – Azerbaijan is not a country of their imagination and nor are its people. Caravan had reached its destination long ago.