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13 July 2017

Nice attack: Paris Match ordered not to republish photos

A woman looks at portraits of missing victims of the Bastille Day terror attack on the Promenade des Anglais on July 16, 2016 in Nice, France.Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Photos of the missing, posted on a Paris Match advert in the wake of last year’s attack

Paris Match does not need to pull an edition showing CCTV mages of the 14 July attack in Nice from France’s newsstands but is forbidden from re-publishing it, a court has ruled.

The ruling, made late on Thursday, came after the Paris prosecutor called for the magazine to be removed from sale.

The images show the moment a lorry, which killed 86 people, drove into crowds celebrating Bastille Day.

A victims’ group has accused the magazine of morbid sensationalism.

Nice’s Mayor Christian Estrosi also criticised the publication on the eve of the first anniversary of the attack.

On Thursday morning, the prosecutor asked the court to “order the (magazine’s) withdrawal from sale” as well as a “ban on publication in all formats, particularly online”.

But the court did not order the retraction of the magazines currently on sale around France,

Instead, it banned “any new publication”, including online, of two images which the tribunal found were an attack “on human dignity”.

Some retailers in Nice boycotted this week’s issue of the magazine, local press reported – although the magazine has since denied this.

Ahead of the ruling, the French journalist’s union SNJ criticised the prosecutor’s request, warning that it was a curb on press freedom.

In an editorial published on the Paris Match website shortly before midnight on Wednesday, managing editor Olivier Royant said the magazine “aims to fight tooth and nail for the right of citizens, and first and foremost of victims, to know exactly what happened during the attack”.

Adding that the editorial team wanted to pay tribute to the victims, Mr Royant explained that the magazine’s journalists had found that the attacker had carried out reconnaissance trips to Nice’s Promenade des Anglais for more than a year.

He argued that screen shots of the lorry’s deadly path had featured recently on TV, and that they were distant images of the scene in which victims could not be identified.

Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, 31, ploughed the rented truck into a crowd of people as they watched a fireworks display late on 14 July 2016.

Children were among the dozens killed before police fatally shot the driver. More than 300 people were treated in hospital.

Images and footage of the attack and its aftermath were a controversial subject immediately after the murders.

A week on, French anti-terror police asked local officials to delete video images of the incident to avoid their publication – but officials refused, saying it would be destroying evidence.

The attack, claimed by so-called Islamic State, was part of a wave of jihadist-inspired murders in France.

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