Paris mayor threatens to sue Fox News over ‘no-go zone’ reports

Anne Hidalgo says city ‘prejudiced’ when areas reported as closed to non-Muslims

The mayor of Paris on Tuesday said she intended to sue Rupert Murdoch's Fox News over insults she said the US television network made towards the city following this month's attack at the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Paris planned legal action because the city's honour was "prejudiced" by Fox reports that wrongly suggested areas of the city were "no-go zones" that were closed to non-Muslims.

“The image of Paris has been prejudiced and the honour of Paris has been prejudiced,” Ms Hidalgo said.

Fox on Saturday issued several apologies for statements made on-air that suggested such zones existed in Europe.

In one apology, anchor Julie Banderas said the network "made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe," and apologised "to any and all who may have taken offence, including the people of France and England. "

Uphill legal fight

Legal experts said the city faced an uphill legal fight, especially in the United States, which has strong protections for media against defamation and libel claims.

"I believe there is no cause of action in the United States, period," said Jane Kirtley, a media law professor at the University of Minnesota.

“This is an example of someone from another country not recognizing the force of the First Amendment, which allows criticism of governmental entities,” she said, referring to part of the US constitution.

Michael Clemente, executive vice president of news at Fox News, said in a statement on Tuesday: "We empathize with the citizens of France as they go through a healing process and return to everyday life. However, we find the mayor's comments regarding a lawsuit misplaced."

Reuters