Credits: DAMIEN MEYER /. AFP
“I noticed unusual noises when I used my car on Friday morning. After a check at the garage, I found out that my wheels had been sabotaged again, almost two years after the first time”. Morgan Large is a journalist for the Breton radio station Radio Kreiz Breizh (RKB). During the night of 23 and 24 March, her car was damaged in what is likely to be an act of intimidation.
Last week, the journalist was running personal errands when noises from her vehicles alerted her. After a few hundred metres, she decided to call her garage. A few checks later, the mechanic told her bolts had been loosened up on one of her wheels. “He called the police for me,” Large recalled during a press conference on 31 March. During the phone call, the police station told them they did not have enough staff on duty to come. Two colleagues of her from RKB accompanied her the same day at the police station to file a complaint.
“I thought this was behind me,” she added, talking about the threats: in November 2020, as soon as a documentary about large poultry farms in Brittany in which she was interviewed was broadcasted, Large started receiving anonymous phone calls at night and threats on social media. Her dog was poisoned, and the doors of RKB buildings in two different councils were damaged.
She had lodged a complaint to the police at the time, which was met by a question from the police: “What do you want us to do?” Similarly, when she asked for an emergency number one day when her daughter was alone at home, the police would not give her one: she was told that despite the threats made to her, she did not fit the criterias to be given police protection.
She filed another complaint directly with the public prosecutor. Although she was satisfied with the way the investigation was led, it resulted in the dismissal of the case on 15 December, 2022, because of a lack of sufficient evidence.
Large is worried about the general situation. This incident happened in a climate of tensions in the region, coinciding with the rise of extreme-right attacks against journalists and council representatives, some of whom have already filed complaints after receiving death threats. Mid-January 2023, the municipality of Callax (Côtes-d’Armor) officially acknowledged a “wave of violence”, that eventually led to the closure of the project “Horizon”, designed to help migrants with accommodation and integration, decision welcomed by the opposition, Eric Zemmour party “Reconquête !”. Part of these attacks were the attacks on the Carhaix-based media outlet Le Poher, whose staff has recently received death threats.
“I am concerned about freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the integrity of journalists and whistleblowers, and I realise that I have in front of me people who are not open to a dialogue.”
This time, a few days after lodging the complaint, she still has not heard from the police. “In my opinion, what happened is a new element to be added to the previous investigation,” explained the journalist, hoping that a separate investigation will not be opened.
Large is covering a variety of topics, and she said that they were certain topics some people do not want journalists to work on.
“I am lucky to be supported by my colleagues,” she said, but has wondered about her career.
This statement by EFJ is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.