Thursday, 01 August 2019 15:11

FRANCE – Media Outlets Fail to Fact-Check Nationality of Killer When Reporting on Murder Case, Spreading Anti-Algerian Sentiment

A number of French media outlets failed to fact-check the nationality of the perpetrator of a murder, revealing deep-rooted stereotypes against French Algerians. This is France’s media monitoring highlight for July.

This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of July, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.

Europe Israel Mamoudou BarryDate: 21 July 2019

Media Outlet: Europe-Israel, a news site that addresses European citizens who support Israel. It often publishes anti-Muslim content.


Headline: “Mamoudou Barry, Guinean, beaten to death by Algerian supporters because he was Black”

Description of the Xenophobic and anti-Muslim Content: On the night of the African Cup of Nations match between Algeria and Senegal, a Guinean man was murdered by a man of Turkish origins in a racist attack in Rouen, France.  However, a number of media outlets, especially on the far-right, immediately reported that the killer was of “Algerian nationality.” Europe-Israel is one of the publications that did not fact-check the nationality of the assailant, stating that: “the Algerian started beating his head with a hand weapon.” Along the same lines, the TV show “Les Grandes Gueules" on the RMC channel was also quick to report that the perpetrator was Algerian. The TV host Barbara Lefebvre said “we don’t’ want to mention the identity of the aggressor, but it is quite clear that it was a person of Northern African origins.” Underneath the Europe-Israel article, people posted comments attacking North Africans and Muslims. After other news media said that the murderer had Turkish origins, and not Algerian, Europe-Israel corrected the article.

Myth Debunked: During the Africa Cup of Nations, people of Algerian origins have often been falsely accused of violence. People belonging to the fachosphere, the far-right in France, spread fabricated news about French-Algerians who committed crimes during Algeria’s football matches. Before including the religion or the ethnicity of a perpetrator, journalists should aim at the utmost accuracy and always ask themselves if this information is relevant to the story. The immediate blaming of Mamoudou Barry’s murder on an Algerian man, by media outlets and social media comments, reveals a problem of stereotyping and marginalisation against people of Algerian roots. Algeria was a French colony for 132 years until 1962, when it became an independent state after a war that left a heavy Algerian death toll.  The colonial history of France is crucial in understanding the discrimination and the segregation that people of North African origins experience in the country. It is a complex form of discrimination where key categories of the Franco-Algerian identity intersect. Other than ethnicity and class, religion plays an important role. As the NGO Minority Rights Group states, “anti-Muslim sentiments have led to France’s North African minority being deemed a threat to security and French values.”

More to Read:

French-Algerians are still second-class citizens

Being Muslim in France

Getting the facts right: reporting ethnicity and religion

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