25 Jun 2008

French Polynesia's Flosse to lodge defamation case against French TV

3:02 pm on 25 June 2008

The French Polynesian opposition politician, Gaston Flosse, says he will take court action in response to a television programme about the 1997 disappearance of a Tahiti journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud.

The programme, which was broadcast in Tahiti and in France, revisited the mystery surrounding the affair which has been at the centre of a so far inconclusive judicial investigation.

Mr Flosse, who was the head of French Polynesia's government at the time of the disappearance, says he feels accused of the most abominable deeds.

He says he will lodge a defamation claim because the broadcast gave him no right to respond to what has been levelled at him.

Mr Flosse says the programme violated the basic principles of democracy.

In 2004, the Couraud family lodged a murder complaint against unknown persons after a former spy working for Mr Flosse's administration claimed that Mr Couraud had been kidnapped and drowned off Tahiti.

Reporters Without Borders has said it is imperative to establish whether Mr Couraud's possible murder was carried out in the national interest.