French reporter threatened over film on Tibet

June 13, 2013 at 12:03 PM
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PARIS, June 13 (UPI) -- A French reporter says he has been threatened by Chinese diplomats because of an undercover report he filmed in Tibet.

France 24 reporter Cyril Payen's "Seven Days in Tibet" first aired on May 30 and since then, Chinese diplomats have demanded the report be removed from the station's website or altered, France 24 reported.

The station has refused to comply with the diplomats' requests.

Payen said since he returned to Thailand, where he is based, he has received numerous phone calls asking him to appear at the Chinese embassy in Bangkok.

"Everyone has advised me not to go to the Chinese embassy under any circumstances, that it would be dangerous for me," Payen said Wednesday. "The French foreign ministry and France 24 are following this case closely, but it hasn't been an easy time for me. I'm not getting more than an hour's sleep a night."

Reporters Without Borders, a France-based organization that defends freedom of the press released a statement that was critical of the Chinese diplomats' tactics.

"Such unacceptable behaviour might be expected from the mafia but not from senior diplomats," the organization said. "It is completely unacceptable for diplomats stationed in France and Thailand to try to intimidate a news outlet into modifying editorial content, to harangue a journalist and to summon him with the intention of interrogating him."

France 24 Editor-in-Chief Marc Saikali said French authorities have been notified about the harassment and he is in constant contact with Payen.

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