MARSEILLE: The news editor of a regional French daily was suspended after a front-page headline critical of President Emmanuel Macron, management said on Friday, causing outrage across the newsroom.

Macron on Tuesday launched a major operation against drug trafficking in the southern port city of Marseille and elsewhere, saying that gangland battles that last year left dozens dead had made life a misery for residents.

Following Macron’s Marseille visit, La Provence daily published a front page on Thursday showing two people, presumably drug dealers, watching a police patrol. The accompanying headline said: “He’s gone, but we’re still here”.

On the basis of the front page, La Provence‘s news editor Aurelien Viers was suspended for failing to follow its “values and editorial line”, according to the paper’s managing editor Gabriel d’Harcourt.

In an article “To Our Readers” published on Friday, d’Harcourt said that the front-page quote and picture “could lead people to believe that we agree to give drug dealers a voice so they can mock the public authority”.

In an article inside Thursday’s La Provence, the front-page quote was actually attributed to a resident of a poor Marseille neighbourhood, named only as Brahim, who said that the city “found the means necessary to protect the president during his visit. He’s gone, but we’re still here, in the same hell”.

Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2024

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