PARIS, FRANCE: France acted unconstitutionally when authorities searched the offices of two publications and homes of five journalists over coverage of a doping scandal, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday.
Judges in Strasbourg found that the actions of the French government were disproportionate and violated article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which deals with press freedom.
In 2004 French daily L'Equipe
and weekly news magazine Le Point
printed a series of articles containing tapped transcripts of telephone conservations linked to a judicial investigation launched into allegations of doping among members of the Cofidis cycling team.
French authorities subsequently searched the media offices plus the homes of the five journalists who covered the story to establish how it had been leaked, seizing computer hard drives and documents. The journalists were released due to a lack of evidence.
They later lodged a complaint with the European court in 2007. (AFP)
Source: European Journalism Centre