Paris shootings survivor who hid in a cupboard from Charlie Hebdo gunmen sues French media for endangering his life

Lilian Lepere was hiding in a cupboard when at least three TV and radio stations revealed his presence

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The Independent Online

A man who hid in a cupboard for eight hours from the Charlie Hebdo gunmen is suing French TV and radio stations, accusing them of endangering his life by revealing his location live on air.

On 7 January, Said and Cherif Kouachi killed 12 people in an attack on the offices of Charlie Hebo magazine. Two days later, they arrived at a printing firm in Dammartin-en-Goële, a small town north of Paris.

As they arrived, Lilian Lepere was hiding in a cupboard under a sink at the plant, when at least three TV and radio stations revealed his presence.

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After a special forces raid, Lepere was released unharmed. (Reuters)

As police surrounded the plant on, Yves Albarello, a member of the French National Assembly, revealed on French radio station RMC that an employee was hiding in the building.

Other media outlets, including France 2 and TF1 followed up on Albarello’s claims.

 

Later, Lepare’s sister, Cindy, confirmed in an interview to TV station France 2 she believed her brother to be in the plant, divulging that her family had stopped calling him in order not to compromise his hiding spot.

After a special forces raid, Lepere was released unharmed.

Lepere’s lawyer told the Associated Press the complaint aims to increase the media’s awareness of life-threatening situations.

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CSA, the watchdog agency, also reprimanded two stations for broadcasting images of gunmen shooting a policeman, Ahmed Merabet, in the head outside the Charlie Hebdo offices. (Getty)

"Delivering information without careful consideration may lead to endanger other's lives. Journalists must think of it," he said.

Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, France’s broadcasting watchdog issued formal warnings to 16 French TV and radio stations over their coverage of terrorist attacks, hostage-takings and police standoffs.

CSA, the watchdog agency, also reprimanded two stations for broadcasting images of gunmen shooting a policeman, Ahmed Merabet, in the head outside the Charlie Hebdo offices.

In the UK, Sky News avoided censure for showing the amateur footage of the murder because they edited out the final seconds when he gets shot in the head, The Guardian reported.

France 24 reported that hostages who hid from another gunman in a walk-in freezer at a kosher supermarket are suing BFM TV for broadcasting information about their location.

The maximum penalty for media that endangers the lives of others by deliberately ignoring security protocols is a year in prison and a €15,000 (£10,565) fine, according to French news network The Local.

Additional reporting by AP.

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