Paris TV channel sued by 6 Paris hostages for irresponsibly broadcasting their whereabouts during a live coverage of the siege

A French television channel is being sued by a group of scared shoppers who took sanctuary in a supermarket cold store during a terrorist attack in Paris for revealing their hiding place.

After gunman Amedy Coulibal was killed by French Special Forces, who launched an assault on the Hyper Cacher store, the BFMTV was accused by the six people, who fled safely, for putting their lives in danger.

During a live newscast while the siege was underway, a journalist from the 24-hour channel broadcasted that a woman had taken refuge in the refrigerated storeroom. Actually, six people which includes a three-year- old child and a month-old baby, were hiding there.

During the siege, Coulibaly, who had already shot four people in the store, watched coverage of the raid on different television channels and had been in contact with BFMTV journalists.

Paris’s prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary inquiry into the legal action. The charge of endangering other people’s lives by a “lack of obligatory care for their security” carries a maximum penalty for 1 year imprisonment and a €15,000 fine.

The three days of terrorist attacks in Paris started with gunmen Chérif and Saïd Kouachi killed 12 people in an attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which led to the climactic attack on Hyper Cacher.

After shooting a female police officer, Coulibaly attacked Hyper Cacher in the southeastern district of Paris 24 hours later. As Coulibaly captured the building on January 9th, a group of shoppers aided by staff member fled into the cold store.

BFMTV broadcast a report from one of its journalists, during its rolling news program, who was among the first on the scene: “There is one person, a woman, who has hidden since the beginning, since the arrival of this man, inside the supermarket, who is hiding in a cold room, who has taken refuge in the cold room and is still there, who is supposed to be inside the cold room, which is at the back of the building.”

The editorial director at BFMTV, Hervé Béroud, has admitted that the broadcast of the information was a huge mistake.

BFMTV has said in response, though, that its journalist only made the statement after obtaining guarantees from sources that broadcasting the information would not jeopardize the hostages’ lives.

 

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