May 22, 2015 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Authorities urged to protect school newspaper editor, target of death threats

Reporters Without Borders calls for a thorough investigation into the death threats received by the 17-year-old editor of a school newspaper in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Maur des Fossés and urges the authorities to give him protection. La Mouette Bâillonnée editor Louis Pasquier has been getting death threats ever since he published a special issue on 21 January in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Reporters Without Borders has been following the case discreetly and decided to speak out now after teachers and students at Pasquier’s school, the Lycée Marcelin Berthelot, demonstrated yesterday in a show of support for Pasquier and to press the authorities to take action. Although Pasquier has filed many complaints about the threats, he and his family are disappointed about the lack of support they have received from the school administration and education authorities, and the lack of information about the investigation into the threats. “We call for a thorough internal investigation at the school, with the support of the education authorities and the ministry of education, and we urge the prosecutor’s office and the police to treat this case with the utmost seriousness,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “La Mouette Bâillonnée’s editor must be given protection. It is unacceptable that this 17-year-old youth has been the target of repeated death threats for months without all possible resources being deployed to identify those responsible. Defence of media freedom must begin with school media, which are dynamic and creative.” Pasquier has so far received a total of seven death threats at his home or his mailbox at the school. The latest was on 4 May, the day after World Press Freedom Day. They have consisted of envelopes containing bullets, swastikas or verbal messages such as “We know where you live, we won’t hesitate” or “Something will happen to you.” “It is as a school journalist that Louis is receiving threats,” said Matthieu Porte, the president of Jets d'Encre, the National Association for Promoting and Defending Young Press Initiative. “It is unacceptable that the administration has not taken all necessary measures to protect this school journalist.” Pasquier’s family says the police advised him to adopt a low profile and say nothing publicly. According to Pasquier: “The education ministry has repeatedly said it wants to combat school harassment, but the management of my school does not appreciate the gravity of this case.” (Image: Le Parisien)