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Syria: French journalist killed in Homs

Publié le January 11, 2012
Statements and Communiqués from the Presidency and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 11 January 2012

It was with great shock and sadness that President Sarkozy learned of the brutal death of journalist Gilles Jacquier in Homs today during an exchange of fire.

The Head of State offers Gilles Jacquier’s partner – who was with him – his most heartfelt condolences.

President Sarkozy also expressed his deepest sympathy to M. Rémy Pfimlin, President of the France Télévisions group, in a letter he has just sent to him in which he pays tribute to the exemplary career of a public service journalist who, in a 25-year career, covered the main conflicts of our time and was rewarded with the most prestigious prizes, such as the Prix Albert Londres in 2003 and more recently, in 2010, the Prix Bayeux for war correspondents.

Sent to Syria by France 2, Gilles Jacquier was only doing his job as a journalist, covering the violent events currently taking place in Syria as a result of the regime’s unacceptable crackdown on the population.

France expects the Syrian authorities to shed full light on the death of a man who was only doing his job: reporting.

Journalists like Gilles Jacquier are a credit to their profession, to our public television and to France./.

Statement by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

Paris, January 11, 2012

I’ve just learned that one of our compatriots, Giles Jacquier, a reporter for France 2, was one of several victims of an attack in the Syrian city of Homs.

We vigorously condemn this heinous act. We demand an investigation that gets to the bottom of the circumstances involved in this tragedy.

It is up to the Syrian authorities to guarantee the security of international journalists in their country and to protect that fundamental liberty: freedom of information.

Our ambassador in Damascus has taken up this matter with the Syrian government in order to ensure that all necessary assistance be provided to the people accompanying our compatriot. He is traveling to the site immediately to provide them with our Embassy’s support.

In the wake of this tragedy, I want to offer my deep condolences to our compatriot’s family and loved ones, and to the editorial board of France Télévisions. I also offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims of this attack.

Interview given by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, to “France 2”

Paris, January 12, 2012

Q. – Do we have any more details? What do we know about the circumstances, and what is France in a position to demand today?

THE MINISTER – The whole truth. We don’t know any more about the exact circumstances or where the firing came from. I’ve just spoken to Caroline Poiron, Gilles Jacquier’s partner, who is in Damascus with our ambassador, M. Chevallier, who has been playing an active role. He’s put himself at her service, and I think I can say we should be in a position to facilitate the speedy return of M. Jacquier’s body to France.
I of course expressed my heartfelt sympathy to Mme Poiron, who is the mother of two very young children; it’s a dreadful tragedy.

I’d also like to pay tribute to the memory of Gilles Jacquier, who was a great reporter, as we know, and who pushed this work of freedom of expression to the limits. One of the ways of fighting what’s happening in Syria is to tell the truth. And in order to tell the truth, the media must have access to Syria. It’s extraordinarily risky, as we’ve just seen, but I think the journalistic profession does itself credit by taking those risks to ensure the truth and free democratic expression prevail.

Q. – Yesterday you were asking for full light to be shed?

THE MINISTER – Of course: we’re going to ask the Syrian authorities who authorized the mission and who, of course, should have ensured the safety of the journalists who had been invited to carry out that visit.

Q. – What’s your understanding of what may have happened?

THE MINISTER – As I told you, I don’t want to go into any intellectual speculation on what happened. The investigation must establish the origin of these events, and in particular where the firing came from, who is responsible for this, so that we can then act accordingly.
What we’re asking for is the most complete transparency on these events.

Q. – Are you optimistic on that point?

THE MINISTER – We’re certainly determined./.

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