16 Dec 2019 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 09 Feb 2018 n° 14/2018 France

The Weekly Challenges Convicted for Publishing an Article on the Financial Difficulties of an International Group

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
On 25 January 2018, the business weekly Challenges was condemned by the Paris Commercial Court to remove an article published on its website which covered the consequences of the financial difficulties of the French company Conforama.

The article was published on 10 January 2018 and is titled "Exclusive: Conforama reportedly placed under an ad hoc mandate". Conforama attacked Challenges in summary proceedings on 16 January 2018, citing the Commercial Code to claim that the article had tarnished its reputation. Challenges pleaded "the right to information of the public on a subject of general interest" and claimed that “any decision to the contrary would amount to “illegal censorship in a democracy."

In its judgment, the court ruled that "the contentious information cannot be considered as information of the public on a subject of general interest, given that Challenges magazine is addressing an educated audience from the economic and business world, which is demonstrated by the lack of dissemination of this information in the television, radio and written media that are targeting the widest possible public”.

The weekly has appealed against the court's ruling.
16 Dec 2019: On 16 December 2019, given that “Challenges” magazine won its case before the Paris Court of Appeal, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be “resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
07 Jun 2019
On 6 June 2019, the Paris Court of Appeal overturned the conviction of Challenges magazine at first instance and ordered Conforama to pay €1,500 in legal costs, considering that divulging Conforama's problems was part of the magazine’s mission to impart information.
State replies
05 Jun 2018
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