Paris kosher supermarket massacre: French TV channel BFM sued by victims' families over coverage that allegedly put 'lives of hostages in danger'

Hostages are hoping the situation does not happen again

Lamiat Sabin
Saturday 04 April 2015 08:54 BST
A general view of members of the French police special forces launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris
A general view of members of the French police special forces launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris

Six people held hostage by a gunman in a kosher supermarket in Paris and their families are suing a channel over its live coverage of the incident in which four people were shot dead.

Victims and their loved ones are claiming that the all-news BFM television channel endangered their lives during the attack by murderer Amedy Coulibaly before he died in a shower of bullets.

The shoot-out occurred two days after a massacre at the offices of satirical magaine Charlie Hebdo in the French capital on 7 January by brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi – who are said to be affiliated with al-Qaeda in Yemen.

BFM and other broadcasters notably revealed in live reports that shoppers were hiding in the Hyper Cacher kosher store. The watchdog and the families’ lawyers say that could have endangered the hostages if Coulibaly had found out that his siege was being broadcast as it had happened.

Several of around 15 hostages were hidden in a walk-in refrigerator by worker Lassana Bathily, a 24-year-old Muslim from Mali who has been granted French citizenship, after nine years living in France, for his bravery.

BFM would not immediately comment when contacted by news agency Associated Press about being reprimanded by France’s broadcast watchdog, among several other television and radio channels. The Independent are awaiting comment from the channel.

A preliminary investigation has been opened into possible charges of “putting others’ lives in danger”, Paris prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said today.

Lawyer Patrick Klugman, representing the families, said that TV reporters also disrupted the arrival of security forces.

Yohan Cohen and Yoav Hattab, two hostages killed the kosher store

He said on Europe-1 radio Friday that the lawsuit isn’t seeking financial damages but wants the media to be held responsible and to take steps to prevent similar situations in the future.

Yohan Cohen, 22, Yoav Hattab, 21, Phillipe Braham, 45, and François-Michel Saada, 64, all died in the supermarket attack.

“It’s a miracle that there weren’t other deaths,” Mr Klugman added.

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