Home > France: website editor faces prosecution for posting union press release

France: website editor faces prosecution for posting union press release

by Open-Publishing - Friday 1 December 2006

Edito Internet Justice France Bellaciao France

Reporters Without Borders today condemned a judge’s decision to open a judicial investigation against Roberto Ferrario, the editor of the left-wing website Bellaciao ( http://bellaciao.org ), in response to a libel suit by the Saint Nazaire-based shipyard, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, over a critical press release by the USM-CGT union that was posted on the site.

“Ferrario was not the author of the statement which Chantiers de l’Atlantique considered libellous,” the press freedom organisation said. “Bellaciao just published the entire statement, clearly indicating its provenance. A prosecution will be costly for Ferrario and could result in the site’s closure, which would be unacceptable.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “We call on Chantiers de l’Atlantique to withdraw their libel suit or, failing that, we urge the courts to nonsuit them.”

Ferrario was notified on 18 October that the case was being transferred to the public prosecutor. The union’s statement, released 16 September 2005 and entitled “Modern-day piracy,” accused the shipyard of “private sector banditry” and “mafia activity” and described its Polish employees as “modern slaves.” It is still posted on Bellaciao.

Philippe Kasse, who was Chantiers de l’Atlantique public relations officer when the offending statement was issued, told Reporters Without Borders: “We also brought a libel suit against the USM-CGT. I do not know why the judge decided to prosecute only the person who disseminated it and not those who wrote it. That said, a site should take responsibility for what it publishes. Other media mentioned the release, but none of them reproduced the exact language used by the USM-CGT which we consider defamatory.”

Bellaciao is an alternative left-wing website operated by an activist collective. A petition in support of Bellaciao and the USM-CGT is available online at:



Forum posts

  • This could have been a setup. Is it possible that someone wanted to shut Bellaciao down, so they posted the inflammatory article, then told their buddy to sue Bellaciao. When free speech is too powerful, the fat cats will try anything to shut the people up.

    Viva Bellaciao!

  • When you are a .org on the Internet, you are considered a public service provider publisher, not a publisher in the business sense of the word. If you prosecute a law with bias, giving unequal protection to people or to organizations that the law is applied to, "you could be considered a member of a criminal enterprise." (mafia type) Thus, you have prosecuted and enacted the law in a unjudicial manner, not for JUSTICE, BUT FOR CRIMINAL MALICE AND FOR CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION of Bellaciao.org.

    Probable cause does exist to look for payoff money in the Judge’s financial accounts. When you investigate a judge on the possible take, the judge is guilty of all suspected crimes until proven innocent.