Media blacklisted by Toulouse town hall
“Here is a new request, dependent, formulated by Mediacités. I have no doubt that whatever our answers, their number, their degree of precision or the date on which we send them, the article will be as usual, turned in a way that is based on your own certainties (…) You will therefore understand that we will leave it to you to conduct your “surveys” on your own and will not answer your questions. When she writes this email to us on November 10, the head of the press service of the Toulouse town hall, Julie Cassan, is not going backwards. We had just asked him four questions about a dispute between the Capitol and a former agent. Nothing that justifies such a refusal.
Visibly angry, the head of the press service argues. In her email, she cites as an example our surveys on the former Ehpad Bonnefoy, published in June 2020, on the East junction, published in February 2021, or, more recently, on the Raisin district. Everyone just has to reread these articles to form their own opinion. They do not understand anything vulgar without foundation, but rather facts, because verified. And if the town hall considers itself unfairly attacked, nothing prevents it from filing a defamation complaint. She did not hesitate to announce her intention to do so in October 2020, against La Dépêche du Midi following an investigation into practical issues within municipal funeral directors. As far as we are concerned, nothing! No complaint, no request for the right of reply …
Later, in this same email, the head of the press service accuses Mediacités “of erecting isolated testimonies into truths, without taking into account all of the elements provided by the administration or by elected officials. of the community ”. A question of balance, in short, which would not be respected. The mourning is shared by Jean-Luc Moudenc himself. Last month, before agreeing to answer us as part of our long investigation into serious dysfunctions within his cabinet, the mayor of Toulouse had made a condition for us: that all of his answers be published. We had also acceded to his request, where many media would have refused due to lack of space on a page of paper or sufficient airtime …
But that’s not all ! The head of the press service also complains about the workload that we will cause her. “It is a colossal job, out of proportion to the time spent responding to other media,” she complains. Certainly. But is it our responsibility if the press service of the fourth largest city in France is undersized to the point of not being able to respond to Mediacités Toulouse, an editorial staff made up of only a few journalists?
The brutal decision of the town hall is as incomprehensible as it is unjustifiable. A public authority must inform the public. By blocking any relationship with Mediacités, it is in fact the readers of Mediacités and the inhabitants of Toulouse that she refuses to respond.
To tell the truth, we felt this risk looming as relations have deteriorated over the months between Jean-Luc Moudenc, his team and Mediacités. Our last exchanges with the mayor of Toulouse, about the deleterious atmosphere within his cabinet, undoubtedly counted a lot. On October 15, while we were asking him for an interview, the elected official made no secret of his hostility towards us, deploring a “systematic process of denigrating institutions in order to encourage populism and extremism”. Excuse the little! Great Lord – and because he is “not used to running away from the adversary” – Jean-Luc Moudenc had nevertheless agreed to answer our questions … by SMS.
This communication process has been the rule for two years between the mayor of Toulouse and Médiacités. Its origin deserves our attention. To do this, we must return to 2019. We are at the beginnings of the municipal campaign. Jean-Luc Moudenc presents his list of union of rights. On the sidelines of the press conference, I questioned him about the unexpected absence of Modem, phone in hand and recorder activated so as not to waste time taking note of the town council’s explanations. Crime of lese-majesté. Considering to have been recorded without his knowledge, the mayor of Toulouse courted the conversation and complains of a lack of journalistic ethics.
Be serious ! It was a press conference and I was clearly identified as a journalist. What could Jean-Luc Moudenc fear, familiar with the arcane journalists since he practiced this profession before getting on a political career, from the use I made of this, when it was only a question of a a tool to faithfully transcribe your statements? Since then, any exchange has gone through the very impractical channel of SMS. And now everything seems blocked …
In the North, Damien Castelain, president of the European Metropolis of Lille, refuses any contact with Mediacités since we revealed that he had used the funds of the community to afford personal benefits (hotel nights, spas, shirts, ties or other socks…). An unacceptable blockage that dates back more than 1,200 days today. In Pas-de-Calais, the mayor (Rassemblement National) of Hénin-Beaumont Steeve Briois made a specialty of refusing to answer questions from journalists from The voice of the North, accused of being too critical of him. Worse! He publicly takes them to task and buries them under an avalanche of abusive rights of reply (read this article from Ina on this subject).
If the mayor of Toulouse is fortunately not there, his decision not to answer us any more is a first step on a slippery slope contrary to any democratic foundation. This regrettable choice – which we hope is temporary – will not prevent us from continuing to apply for the town hall. So that our articles are as complete as possible for our readers; and out of respect for the adversarial principle, at the heart of journalistic principles and which we make every effort to respect.
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