[There was a video here]
The government of Paris plans to sue Fox News for airing several segments claiming the French capital contained “no-go zones” that prohibit entry to non-Muslims and are frequently avoided by city police. Fox has since retracted and apologized for airing the segments, which were widely mocked by French media.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo: I’m insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think they’ll have to sue, I think they’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. And I think in the great discussion of truth, everyone has to play its role and we’re going to have to be realistic and put things as they are.
Christiane Amanpour: Can you clarify which exact network you’re going to take to court and sue?
Hidalgo: Fox News. That’s the name.
It’s not exactly clear which legal strategy Parisian officials intend to pursue against Fox News. The network is domiciled in the United States, where courts have traditionally required plaintiffs to establish “actual malice” in libel and defamation cases pertaining to public figures. Very few plaintiffs have ever succeeded in proving actual malice, however; even in this particular context it would be difficult to substantiate.
The important thing to note is that they’re not suing Fox under US Law (because it would probably go nowhere and they’ve probably been informed of this by the French Ambassador in Washington).
The lawsuit is most likely in French Court (which has a lower standard of proof for libel cases than US courts, and less restrained by Free Speech statutes like courts in the US are) and I also wouldn’t be surprised if a similar suit had been, or will be filed in European (EU) court (Which is actually more serious and a bigger deal because that ruling wouldn’t just be binding to France but to EU member states).
More than likely Fox’s ability report and operate (effectively) in France is what would be effected, with broader implications in the rest of Europe which is why they were so quick to come out with that apology last week—which you never EVER see them do in the US even when they’ve been proven patently wrong in their reporting by THEIR OWN news reporting, sometimes.
Britain and Birmingham was probably never going to sue—despite Rupert Murdoch’s shaky relationship with the government there over the phone hacking scandal, due to similar high standards for libel suits (which is why the tabloids there put the US Tabloids to shame), and also because Murdoch has a lot of connections (read: business interests) there, but the situation is vastly different in France.