AFP sues high-profile French mayor over refugee photograph

15th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

AFP on Tuesday filed a suit against the outspoken mayor of the southern French city of Beziers, Robert Menard, and city officials for wrongly using a photograph taken in Macedonia to falsely rouse fears of a migrant invasion.

Menard, one of the founders of the international journalists' group Reporters Without Borders, is backed by the anti-immigration National Front party of right-wing leader Marine Le Pen.

He has been recently in the limelight for controversial measures taken in Beziers which he says are aimed at reaffirming France's Christian roots.

AFP said it, along with photographer Robert Atanasovski, had sued the city of Beziers and Menard seeking 30,000 euros ($ 34,000) from each in damages for misusing the photograph.

The original snap, taken by Atanovski in June, showed Macedonians preparing to board a train.

But in the town journal, the photograph was altered to include two slogans on the train windows: "Beziers, 3,865 km", and "Free schooling, lodging and allowances for all."

The photograph was titled : "The asylum seekers are coming to Beziers!"

Menard has argued that photographs were regularly altered.

European leaders are currently squabbling over how to manage the continent's biggest migrant influx since World War II amid fears voiced by some East European leaders that the phenomenon will undermine the continent's Christian character.

© 2015 AFP

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