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Court rules in favour of French reporter accused of staging footage

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group, the Federation of Journalists (EFJ), have today welcomed the ruling of a court in France which upheld the claim brought by France 2 correspondent Charles Enderlin for defamation against media analyst Phillippe Karsenty.

On Wednesday, 26 June, the Paris Court of Appeals ruled that Mr. Karsenty, founder of the Media Rating website, was guilty of defamation for accusing Mr. Enderlin, Jerusalem correspondent for French public broadcaster France 2, of staging TV footage about the killing of Mohammed Al Dura, a Palestinian boy who was reportedly shot dead by Israeli forces in Gaza on 30 September 2000.

“We welcome the decision by the French Court of Appeals which clears the good name [and] impeccable reputation of our colleague,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “Charles Enderlin is a highly respected French journalist, revered for his integrity and professionalism, and this conviction of Phillippe Karentsy for defamation has been a long time coming.

“The recent IFJ World Congress in Dublin adopted a resolution presented by the three affiliates in support of Mr Enderlin.”

IFJ affiliates in France, SNJ, SNJ-CGT and USJ-CFDT, have hailed the court's decision, saying that the reporter has faced a relentless smear campaign for the last twelve years.

In a statement, the SNJ-CGT at French Television said that the judgment “puts an end to the attack on the honour of a journalist who is well known and respected for his integrity and professional qualities.”

Karentsy was initially convicted of libel in 2006, but the Paris Court of Appeals overturned the verdict. Then, last year, France's highest court overturned the appeals court verdict, a decision which led to Wednesday's verdict. Karentsy received a fine of 7000 euros.

The IFJ and EFJ praised the journalist's tireless campaign against the allegations which hung over him for such a long time.

“For the past 12 years Charles Enderlin has had to live with these accusations against his professionalism and honesty, said IFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård.

“This decision is a clear vindication of his integrity as a journalist and human being.”

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