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Damages sought by former presidential candidate for tell-all book "disproportionate," says RSF

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has expressed its concern about the 150,000 euros in damages and interest sought against the authors of the book "La femme fatale", Ariane Chemin and Raphaëlle Bacqué.

Ms. Ségolène Royal and Mr. François Hollande
Socialist Party
282, boulevard Saint-Germain
75007 Paris

Paris, 6 June 2007

Dear Madam/Dear Sir,

Reporters sans frontières wishes to inform you of its concern after the delivery of a writ of summons by your lawyer Mr. Mignard for the authors of the book "La femme fatale", Raphaëlle Bacqué and Ariane Chemin.

Of course, you have the right like anyone else to lodge a complaint if you feel you have been defamed. It is your absolute right. On the other hand, RSF has difficulty accepting the exorbitant amount of damages sought from the two authors - 150,000 euros.

The organisation is confident that the courts will resolve this lawsuit, but we recall that under the terms of the majority of international rules on the matter, there must be a certain degree of proportionality between the damage undergone and the amount of monetary compensation requested. However, in this particular case, I think you will agree that a reasonable degree of proportionality has not been respected.

In addition, RSF regularly reminds public figures that, as much as possible, they should abstain from filing complaints against journalists. If the respect of private life is fundamental, political leaders must keep in mind the specificity of their public functions and take care not to abuse this right.

In hoping that you will be able to reconsider the matter of your complaint before it goes to court, I remain, yours sincerely,

Robert Ménard,
Secretary General

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