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Monday, April 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Paris Mayor ‘Insulted’ by Fox News, Wants to Sue

(CN) - Fox News' apparently erroneous reporting of "no-go" zones for non-Muslims in the EU in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre has drawn fire from the mayor of Paris, who says she intends to sue the network.

Speaking to CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Fox News had "insulted" the City of Lights in a series of reports that suggested parts of Paris and other European cities are dominated by Islamic law and that law enforcement is afraid to enter the areas.

Critics mocked the reports, while British Prime Minister David Cameron said he "choked on his porridge and thought it must be April Fools Day" when he heard that Birmingham, England, made the Fox News list.

But Hidalgo, who was elected by Parisians last year, said a lawsuit was in order.

"When we're insulted, and when we've had an image, then I think we have to sue," Hidalgo said, referencing one Fox segment that displayed an inaccurate map of the alleged Muslim strongholds in and around Paris. "I think we'll have to go to court in order to have these words removed. The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced."

Fox News has since apologized, although shortly after Hidalgo appeared on CNN the network called her warning "misplaced." And Bill O'Reilly - the network's highest-rated host - called the mayor "a socialist" and "an attention-getter" on his program Tuesday evening.

Legal experts say the chances of Paris succeeding in a U.S. court are slim to none, since there's no such thing as defamation of a city or its government. And given Fox News' limited presence in France, experts doubted that a French court could exercise jurisdiction over the network.

Birmingham's city leaders told the BBC that they had no plans to take Hidalgo's legal route.

"The comments about Birmingham were a bit bonkers," Councillor James McKay said. "We said so. Fox News corrected them. We've all moved on. End of story."

The European Union remains on high alert after Islamic radicals killed 17 people in Paris earlier this month, including 12 at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Belgian police uncovered a separate terror plot - and killed two jihadists - last week. Antiterrorism arrests have also been made in Germany and Greece.

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