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
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
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
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
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
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