Press council upholds entrapment complaint

The Swiss Press Council has upheld a complaint against free daily newspaper 20minutes for tricking a politician into soliciting sex from a teenager on a gay website.

This content was published on November 22, 2011 - 16:45 and agencies

The press council said on Tuesday that an article published by the French-speaking edition of 20minutes in April had used “unfair methods” in obtaining the article.

The article was accompanied by a blurred photo of the man – a teacher and Geneva-based politician – and detailed how he had had invited a journalist, posing as a 15-year-old boy, to engage in a sexual relationship over a website.

The press council said it was “not acceptable” that the article was published on the basis of the hidden investigation of the journalist.

It said such methods were only acceptable in exceptional circumstances, notably where there was public interest, which was not the case in this situation. At the time of publication, the man had already resigned his teaching position following an investigation, the press council noted.

20minutes was also criticised for publishing the man’s name, which the press council said did not lead to any added protection against paedophilia. By convention, Swiss media do not disclose the identity of victims or perpetrators in criminal cases.      

20minutes is owned by Swiss media company Tamedia.

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