Paris: A Paris court on Friday fined the
France 24 news channel for violating a French pop singer`s
privacy by spreading rumours he was having an affair with the
first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
The judge ordered the publicly-funded all-news channel
to pay a fine of USD 4,000 in damages to singer Benjamin
Biolay, whose lawyer said the rumours were "inaccurate."
Biolay had sought 20,000 euros.
The court rejected France 24`s argument that it was
legitimate to discuss an affair that had been widely written
about in the foreign press despite being almost entirely
ignored by French media.
The case centred on a March 10 review of the day`s
press on France 24 that referred to "the rumour concerning the
alleged relationship between Benjamin Biolay and the first
lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy."
Biolay is also planning to sue France`s Voici
celebrity magazine for publishing photos of him embracing the
actress Laura Smet, who is the daughter of French rock icon
Johnny Hallyday, his lawyer told agency.
The 37-year-old singer is currently making a comeback
on the French music scene, having previously worked with such
icons as Juliette Greco and Francoise Hardy, as well as
Bruni-Sarkozy, a former supermodel turned singer.
Friday`s court ruling comes just over a week after
Bruni-Sarkozy went on a radio show to quash rumours of
infidelity in her marriage with President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The rumours first appeared on the online service
Twitter and a blog before being picked up by some mainstream
media, especially British, German and Swiss newspapers.