RSF asks French police to protect Breton reporter, investigate threat to her life

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Morgan Large, an investigative reporter in Brittany, in northwestern France, whose car was sabotaged two weeks ago, have jointly filed a judicial complaint requesting an investigation into the threat to her life and calling for her to be given police protection. Large specialises in covering Brittany’s agribusiness.

Filed yesterday with the public prosecutor’s office in Saint‑Brieuc, in Brittany’s Côtes d’Armor department, and signed by lawyers Emmanuel Daoud et Maxime Tessier, the complaint reports acts constituting “destruction, degradation or deterioration of property (...) likely to create a danger to persons” under article 322-6 of the penal code and “concerted interference with freedom of expression” under article 431-1 of the penal code.

RSF had announced that it was considering legal action when it first reported that Large’s car had been the target of a malicious act of sabotage. Large works for Radio Kreiz Breizh (RKB), a community radio station based near Rostrenen, a small town 60 km southwest of Saint‑Brieuc.

On 31 March, Large noticed that all the nuts had disappeared from one of the real wheels of her car. This could not have accidental, according to the garage mechanic whose statement was included in the complaint. It was clearly a deliberate act of sabotage designed to put her life in danger, one that also endangered all of the car’s other users, including her daughter.

The complaint details other acts of harassment and intimidation against Large and her radio station in recent months, including the poisoning of her dog, anonymous night-time phone calls to her home, the fact that her domestic animals were let loose, and the damaging of the radio station’s doors. The complaint also refers to the general climate of intimidation for journalists covering intensive farming and environmental issues in Brittany.

Although just the latest in a long series of acts of sabotage, the level of malice and danger crossed a threshold that constitutes grounds for a criminal investigation and, as RSF told the prosecutor, for Large to be given police protection.

As the threats to Large and the radio station seem to be part of a broader climate of tension in Rostrenen and the surrounding area, RSF has also called for the case to be assigned to an external police agency instead of the local gendarmerie.

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

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Updated on 14.04.2021