Media outlets and journalists across Europe are under attack. War correspondents in Ukraine fear for their physical safety. Independent media in Hungary have been exposed to a series of cyber attacks shutting down their websites. Journalists in Poland are caught in the middle of a polarized society, with a government-controlled public broadcaster setting the standards for politicized reporting. However, it’s not only in these more well-known cases that media freedom is in danger.

MFRR in Focus, a series of podcasts by IPI and MFRR partners, puts these and other issues in the spotlight. Today, we turn to the case of Ariane Lavrilleux, a French investigative journalist with the non-profit investigative media outlet Disclose.

On September 19, French police raided Lavrilleux’s home in Marseille, confiscating equipment and ultimately placing her under arrest. Under French law, police may detain anyone for up to 48 hours without pressing charges, thanks to which security forces were able to hold the journalist behind bars for a total of 39 hours. Prosecutors suspected her of having disseminated defence secrets, through an investigation on French special operations in Egypt, which was published in 2021.

The case against Lavrilleux is ongoing, and while she has not been formally accused following her arrest, proceedings are ongoing to determine whether an investigation will be launched against the journalist for disseminating “defence secrets”. Mathias Destal, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the investigative media outlet Disclose, joins this podcast episode to shed light on Lavrilleux’s case, and more globally on legal issues surrounding source protection and “defence secret” regulations in France.

Guests: Mathias Destal, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Disclose.

Producer and Host: Karol Łuczka, Advocacy and Monitoring Officer at IPI.

Editor: Javier Luque, head of digital communications at IPI.

Other episodes in this series:

Engrained challenges for press freedom in Bulgaria

Related links:

France: IPI condems the arrest of investigative journalist Ariane Lavrilleux

This podcast series is part of the MFRR in Focus project sponsored by Media Freedom Rapid Response, which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. The MFRR is organised by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19 Europe, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT).

For more in-depth podcast episodes about the state of press freedom in Europe, visit the MFRR website or search MFRR In Focus on your podcasts apps. The MFRR is co-funded by the European Commission.