French TV fined for spreading Carla Bruni affair rumour
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Last Updated: Friday, April 16, 2010, 21:52
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.


First Published: Friday, April 16, 2010, 21:52

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