March 2, 2021 - Updated on March 4, 2021

Cases of violence against French reporters

© France 3 Bourgogne
In the wake of a violent attack on 27 February in Reims, in northern France, against Christian Lantenois, a photographer with the L’Union-L’Ardennais regional newspaper, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has compiled a list of all the previous cases of violence against journalists in the past three years in France.

None of the journalists on this list found themselves fighting for their life after the attack, as Christian Lantenois is now, but several were badly injured. Of the 12 previous cases logged by RSF since 2018, only one occurred while the reporters were covering incidents in a low-income residential district, as Lantenois was. Nine of them occurred during gilet jaunes (“yellow vest”) protests. RSF has not included cases of police violence in this list*.

15 November 2020 - Toulouse

During a demonstration by Catholics demanding the reopening of churches for mass, a demonstrator punched Libération photographer Ulrich Lebeuf in the face.

15 June 2020 - Dijon

During a fourth night of violence in the Dijon district of Grésilles, a France 3 TV crew was attacked and their vehicle was stoned by about 15 armed people.

18 January 2019 - Longeville-lès-Saint-Avold

Républicain Lorrain reporter Alain Morvan was punched and kicked in the stomach by a member of a “yellow vest” demonstration who wanted to prevent Morvan from taking photos. 

12 January 2019 - Rouen 

Two LCI journalists and their bodyguards were violently attacked during a “yellow vest” demonstration in Rouen. One of the bodyguards was badly kicked after falling to the ground and had to be hospitalized.

12 January 2019 - Paris

An LCI team of journalists was targeted by “yellow vest” protesters during a demonstration and a woman reporter was thrown to the ground.

12 January 2019 - Toulouse

Athina Juge, a freelance journalist working on assignment for the Dépêche du Midi newspaper, was surrounded, insulted and threatened with rape by “yellow vest” protesters while in a car bearing the paper’s name. The protesters tore off one of the car’s sidemirrors and kicked its bodywork.

12 January 2019 - Pau

While doing a live report for C L'info Pau, a local digital media outlet, video reporter Franck Paillanave was physically attacked by a “yellow vest” protester, sustaining a leg injury.

12 January 2019 - Toulon

After being threatened while filming scuffles between “yellow vest” protesters and police, two AFP video reporters were chased by a dozen people, receiving blows to their backs and their camera. One of them was also kicked in the hip.

5 January 2019 - Rouen
After insults and missiles were thrown at them during a “yellow vest” demonstration, three BFM TV journalists were roughed up by several of the protesters and were forced to flee with the help of their bodyguards, who sustained many blows.

5 December 2018 - Bron

Two France 3 journalists were attacked by about 50 youths while covering a demonstration by secondary school students outside the Jean-Paul Sartre trade school in Bron, near Lyon. The reporters were punched and stoned, and their camera was broken.

7 December 2018 - Wingles

Secondary school students threw acid at two journalists with the La Voix du Nord and l’Avenir de l’Artois newspapers when they arrived with the aim of covering their demonstration.

24 November 2018 - Toulouse

Journalists with CNews and BFM TV filed a complaint claiming they had been the victims of “aggravated violence” and “attempted assault” before abandoning their attempts to cover a “yellow vest” march ending at the city’s Capitole Square.

France is ranked 34th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

* Numerous cases of police violence against journalists were also recorded by RSF over the same period. As a result, the organization has filed several complaints against the prefect of the Paris police, Didier Lallement, and against unidentified police officers for aggravated voluntary violence.