Berlin, April 15, 2021 — French authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate a threatening letter received by journalist Nadiya Lazzouni and ensure her safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On April 8, Lazzouni, a Paris-based video producer and founder of the news and commentary outlet Speak Up Channel, received an anonymous handwritten letter in the mail, photos of which CPJ reviewed, that contained death threats and sexist and anti-Muslim slurs.
“French authorities should thoroughly investigate the threat received by journalist Nadiya Lazzouni, and hold the perpetrators to account,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Lazzouni was targeted because of her religion and her opinions, and authorities must ensure that she can continue her work without fear.”
Lazzouni told CPJ in a phone interview, “I am targeted because I am a journalist, a Muslim, and a woman wearing a headscarf. The letter containing the death threat was addressed to my private address, I feel threatened now in my own home.”
Lazzouni published photos of the letter on Twitter, and demanded immediate police protection. She told CPJ in a phone interview yesterday that she filed a complaint to the Paris prosecutor’s office on April 9, but had not received any information on an investigation or her request for police protection.
The letter threatens that Muslims will be “shot in the neck,” that the writer will “deport you by bulldozer,” and that “France will be clean of all Muslims and Islamists.”
Lazzouni runs Speak Up Channel, a website and YouTube channel, which has about 20,000 subscribers, where she posts commentary and opinion videos on minority and diversity issues in France, she told CPJ.
She became widely known in France two years ago when she appeared on TV talk shows and debated against a government measure banning headscarves worn by mothers accompanying students on school trips, the daily newspaper Le Parisien reported.
Lazzouni told CPJ that one week before the death threat, on April 1, she posted on Twitter a video excerpt of a TV talk show she had participated in a year before discussing the ban on Islamic headwear.
CPJ emailed the Paris public prosecutor’s office for comment, but did not receive any reply.