[FR] ARCOM issues C8 with formal notice for failing to exercise restraint in relation to ongoing judicial proceedings and opens sanction procedure

IRIS 2023-1:1/12

Amélie Blocman


Following a heated argument between TV presenter Cyril Hanouna and an opposition MP on the set of the programme ‘Touche pas à mon poste’, broadcast on C8 on 10 November 2022, the French audiovisual regulator, ARCOM, through its director general, announced that it had referred the matter to the independent rapporteur, a member of the Conseil d’Etat, in accordance with Article 42-7 of the Law of 30 September 1986. Taking into account previous warnings issued to the C8 channel, the rapporteur considered that the incident justified the instigation of a sanction procedure. The independent rapporteur now needs to decide whether to institute legal proceedings and investigate the on-set altercation between the presenter and the MP.

The day before the argument, the ARCOM had already issued a formal notice to the channel after references to the murder of young girl in Paris on 14 October had been broadcast during the episodes of ‘Touche pas à mon poste’ on 18, 19 and 24 October.

After receiving numerous complaints about the disputed sequences, the ARCOM found that, even though the judicial investigation of the case had still been ongoing, the presenter had repeatedly commented on how the person under investigation should be tried and punished, as well as their psychological profile. In particular, he called several times for a trial to be held quickly and for life sentences to be issued automatically in such cases.

The ARCOM considered that, in view of the repeated nature of these sequences, the broadcaster had breached its obligation to exercise restraint when dealing with an ongoing court case, an obligation enshrined in its decision of 18 April 2018 concerning the honesty and independence of information and news programmes. The ARCOM noted, among other things, that the presenter had given his opinion at great length without any opposing argument being expressed, which represented a breach of the broadcaster’s obligation to respect the expression of different viewpoints on a controversial issue. The ARCOM therefore issued a formal notice to C8.


This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.