• 22 JUL 05
    • 0

    French Telco sues activist for slander

    The following message from France illustrates just how the French Telcoms have to learn about the art of “community consultation” and trying to maintain a good corporate image with the public. If, in the UK or Australia, a telco went ahead and sued a community activist group spokesperson for supposedly slandering the company, that would be one sure way to garner a good dose of very bad publicity. Perhaps Bouygues Télécom should have considered the bad experience McDonalds had before going down this route.

    Sent by Sylvie:


    Regarding the court judgment against the spokesman for “Robin of the Roofs”.

    Webmaster, 19/07/2005 – 13:55:34

    Dear friends,

    The fight that we have carried out for several years for the application of the Principle of Precaution as regards mobile telephony meets an increasing echo. It is certainly the reason why several operators try today to reduce us to silence.

    Following an interview published in November 2003 in
    the newspaper Journal du Diamnche, [reproduced below] the company Bouygues Télécom brought a lawsuit for slandering
    against our spokesman Etienne Cendrier. The remarks
    aimed at alerting the public opinion on the dangerosity of mobile telephony for health.

    The Court of Paris has just published the text of an astonishing judgement. Etienne Cendrier is condemned for slandering with a fine of 5.000 euros, plus the sundries, the total amount being of 9 000 euros.

    Still more surprising, in spite of the decision of Etienne to appeal, this fine must be paid as soon as possible. Let us remember that Bouygues Télécom had claimed the modest amount of 200 000 euros.

    We cannot regard as acceptable this decision.

    Indeed, we do not find in the text terms which establish clearly that the judgement is founded in right. The judgment thus appears to us to lack references. It is also remarkable that ther is a provisional execution.

    The newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné in June 2005 underlined the eagerness for the « lanceur d’alerte » (alert launcher) Etienne Cendrier on behalf of the three French operators of mobile telephony. The judgement which has been just given is the first of a long series.

    All the scandals of public health, from asbestos to glycol ethers, the mad cow had begun in the same way : a handle of people asked the application of Principle of Precaution. On the other hand, the industrial and financial lobbies tried by all the means to reduce them to silence.

    In “solliciting” the organizations and their militants to open their purses, the operators try to choke what is likely to become tomorrow’s major scandal of public health.

    [Following is the article that so upset Bouygues Télécom.]

    Mobile mast : face-to-face discussion
    Le Journal du Dimanche

    Are the mobile masts for mobile phones dangerous for
    the health?

    We met together Yves Contassot, responsible for the
    Environment in the City of Paris and in charge for
    mobile masts and Etienne Cendrier, sposkeman for
    Priartem, a militant organization.

    Interviewer Antoine Debièvre

    This week, new implantations of sites of mobile mast
    for telephony were blocked by residents in
    Ile-de-France (Paris + suburb, added explanation), in
    particular Tuesday close to the Gate Brançion (15me),
    in Paris. In spite of the signature of a charter of
    good behaviour in March (2003 added text) with the
    operators SFR, Orange and Bouygues Telecom, the City
    of Paris did not succeed in stopping the polemic.
    Meeting frankly between Yves Contassot, in charge for
    the Environment, and Etienne Cendrier, coordinator of
    the national association against excesses of mobile
    telephony, Priartem. (since the split, Robin des Toits
    added explanation)

    Etienne Cendrier, you contest the way in which the
    measurements are carried out in Paris.

    Etienne Cendrier : we think indeed that the operators
    are warned upstream, which enables them to cheat by
    lowering the powers. We also dispute the way in which
    measurements are carried out, to only one place, only
    once, and not over all the day, which would reflect
    the real exposure better.

    Yves Contassot: I put to you with the challenge to
    find a technician able to lower the power of a mast
    without that being noticed. It is technically
    impossible. No, the operators are not informed when
    the controls are made. As for the measurement
    techniques, they are fixed by a protocol which you did
    not dispute.

    Etienne Cendrier : Do you know that there is in Paris
    a researcher who finds results raised when he makes
    the measurements alone and minimal exposures when he
    worksafter informing the operators?

    Yves Contassot: We will propose to this Guy that new
    analyses be carried out with the blind man with his
    material and that of the offices of control to stop
    polemizing. Afterwards, one will discuss the actually
    measured levels and one will check if the charter is

    Etienne Cendrier : But the acceptable level that it
    fixed is too high! You promised a threshold, but it
    is about an average over 24 hours. As an ecologist,
    you know it well, an average that allows peaks of

    Yves Contassot: The threshold that we accepted with
    the operators is 400 times lower than the current
    national standards. Our charter is the most rigorous
    of France.

    Etienne Cendrier : The national standard, it is
    indeed as if the speed authorized on the road were of
    600 km/h. While your threshold, it is prohibition to
    exceed an average of 50 km/h downtown, which does not
    prevent the bursts of speed. We ask that the
    threshold be twice lower.

    Is this technically possible without making impossible
    the use of the mobiles ?

    Etienne Cendrier : Lower thresholds exist elsewhere
    in Europe. Mobile phone must be compatible with the
    public health. It is not the case today. The
    operators dissimulate the true exposures of the
    population for a story of money (gros sous)… We
    think that the Mayor of Paris stopped in the medium of
    the ford. We will continue blockings until the charter
    is revised with the fall.

    Yves Contassot: Between the threshold that you ask
    and ours, there is only one water drop moreover in one
    glass already almost empty. We negotiated very hard
    with the operators. Either one signed the found
    compromise, or it did not have any agreement. I
    refuse the whole or anything. Do not forget that we
    do not have the support of the government, since it
    supports the operators.

    How can we leave the crisis?
    Etienne Cendrier : By lowering the threshold of
    exposure, while launching medical investigations
    around the masts, by reinforcing the transparency.

    Yves Contassot: You request also prohibition from
    Paris of any antenna to less than 100 meters of a
    crib, a hospital, a school or an old people’s home.
    Do you know that by applying this measurement, one
    could from now on telephone only on the Champs Elysées
    avenue and in the garden of Tuileries?

    Etienne Cendrier : I admit that this point is
    unacceptable in Paris. This is why it is necessary to
    be intractable on the threshold of exposure.

    Yves Contassot: You polarize on Paris whereas truths
    problems are in the rural zones, where the antennas
    are differently more powerful.

    Etienne Cendrier : If we accept your threshold, it
    will be said to us that it is less serious than before
    and any later progress will be impossible. We are not
    in the strategy of the whole or nothing.

    Yves Contassot: By criticizing our charter, you help
    the operators not to lower the thresholds in province.

    Etienne Cendrier, your are the objective ally of the

    Etienne Cendrier : Can you astonish me! Let’s talk
    about the incredible rumours that they make on us to
    remove credit to us. In particular that we sould be a
    sect which would handle the cabinet of Yves

    Yves Contassot: It is true that that it made us laugh
    both. Here is finally a point of agreement between

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