France 24 sues over on-air ambassador hoax

9th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

French broadcaster France 24 is taking legal action for an alleged hoax in which a woman claiming to be Syria's ambassador to Paris announced her resignation live on air, the channel said Thursday.

"France 24 has officially filed a complaint to the Paris public prosecutor regarding identity theft and impersonation," the channel said in a statement.

Ambassador Lamia Shakkur went on other channels denying the announcement after the woman surprised France 24, which had contacted her via the embassy, by making the declaration in an interview on Tuesday evening.

"France 24 has no option but to take Ms Shakkur's denials seriously," the channel said on Thursday.

It "commissioned comparative analyses which show that the voice heard during the interview conducted on France 24 on Tuesday evening is different from the voice which later issued the denial broadcast on BFM TV," another channel.

In Tuesday's interview, the woman claiming to be the ambassador said she was quitting in protest at the "cycle of violence" in a deadly crackdown by Syrian authorities against protestors.

France 24 said it had reached the woman claiming to be Shakkur by telephone following exchanges with the embassy's press office via its usual phone numbers and email address.

It said that it and the ambassador were victims and expected that she and the embassy "will give their total support to this complaint and collaborate fully in the ensuing investigations."

More than 1,100 civilians, including dozens of children, have been killed in a security crackdown against anti-government protests that erupted in Syria in March.

Western powers are pushing for a draft UN Security Council resolution condemning the crackdown.

© 2011 AFP

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