PARIS, Apr 3 – Six people who hid in a supermarket refrigerator during January’s Islamist attacks in Paris have sued French media for broadcasting their location live during the siege.
Images broadcast from the scene on January 9, when gunman Amedy Coulibaly stormed into the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket, killing four and taking others hostage, “lacked the most basic precautions” and endangered those still alive inside, said a lawyer representing the group, Patrick Klugman.
Klugman singled out French 24-hour news channel BFMTV, which revealed live on air that the group — including a three-year-old child and a one-month-old baby — was hiding from Coulibaly in the cold room, where they were taken by one of the supermarket’s employees.
“The working methods of media in real time in this type of situation were tantamount to goading someone to commit a crime,” Klugman told AFP Thursday, roundly criticising coverage by other outlets of security forces movements during the standoff.
The lives of those hiding “could have been at risk if Coulibaly had been aware in real time what BFMTV was broadcasting,” Klugman said, adding that the jihadist was following the coverage of his raid on different channels and had been in contact with BFMTV journalists.
The heavily televised events at Hyper Cacher in eastern Paris came two days after Cherif and Said Kouachi shot 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. All three gunmen were killed after three days of attacks that killed a total of 17 people and deeply shocked France.
The lawsuit charges media outlets with endangering the lives of others by deliberately ignoring security protocols, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison and 15,000-euro ($16,300) fine.