Survivors who were held as hostages during January’s kosher supermarket siege in Paris have decided to sue the media for allegedly endangering their lives. The six former hostages decided to sue French media outlet BFM-TV, claiming that the live broadcast that the media outlet showed revealed the location of their hiding spot. The former hostages’ lawsuit was filed on March 27.
The hostages were hiding in a walk-in cooler while the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket was stormed by gunman Amedy Coulibaly, who was killed during the attack by police on January 9. The hostages had been hidden by 24-year-old supermarket employee Lassana Bathily, now hailed a hero. Reports stated that he risked his own life to hide 15 customers from the gunman in the store’s walk-in cooler room.
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While they hid in the walk-in cooler, the French media channel BFM-TV was reportedly contacted by the gunman. The six former hostages allege that the media disregarded all security protocols and that the live footage “lacked the most basic precautions,” according to Patrick Klugman, the lawyer for the group of former hostages who are suing the media outlet. The hostages’ lawyer claims that the gunman had been watching the media coverage of the supermarket attack.
According to Newsweek, when the supermarket gunman contacted the media, he said that he chose that particular supermarket, because he was “targeting Jews and acting to defend ‘oppressed Muslims.'” The attack at the kosher supermarket came just after the terror attack in which 12 people were killed at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.
During the attack at the kosher supermarket in Paris, four of the 16 hostages were killed. Inquisitr reported on the names of the less fortunate hostages who had been killed by the gunman.
“It’s a miracle that there weren’t other deaths,” Klugman said of the media channel’s coverage of the supermarket attack. “At one moment, the information got out, and it was absolute panic. For those who were down below and for their loved ones, that could have meant the end.”
“You nearly made a huge, huge mistake, BFM,” the wife of a hostage who had been hiding in the walk-in refrigerator said the day after the attack. “The terrorist was watching BFM.… Fortunately he did not see that, otherwise my husband and the five others would be dead.”
The media was warned by France’s Higher Broadcasting Council, as the attack unfolded, to use the “greatest discernment” while reporting on the hostage situation, according to Newsweek.
If the media broke basic safety protocol while covering the hostage situation, the lawsuit would carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $16,300 fine, according to the Jerusalem Post. According to a Paris prosecutor’s office spokesperson, a preliminary investigation has been launched now that the former supermarket hostages have decided to sue the media outlet for allegedly breaking safety protocol.
[Photo adapted from BFM-TV screenshot]