Press Release – Definition, Categories and Sanctions

A press offense is a criminal offense committed by the press.

Press release: definition

Press release: definition

A press offense is a criminal offense that may fall into the category of contraventions, or offenses, or crimes, and is committed through the press.

Limits on the freedom of the press

Press offenses are enumerated in chapter IV of the law of 29/7/1881 on the freedom of the press.

Title IV is entitled “Crimes and offenses committed by the press or by any other means of publication”.

A particular legal regime

A particular legal regime

Persons punishable for press offenses as principal authors, may be the publisher, director and co-directors of publication, or, failing that, the authors of articles, printers, sellers, distributors and distributors. displays.

Good to know : the director of the publication of a website published by a legal person is, by right, its legal representative or, in the case of an association, its statutory representative (Cass Crim, 22 January 2019, Appeal No. 18-81.779).

Moreover, with regard to crimes, offenses and press offenses, public action and civil action are prescribed after three months. The delay starts from the day the offense was committed, or from the day of the last act of instruction or prosecution if there was.

The different crimes of the press

 The different crimes of the press

The law of 1881 divides press offenses into several categories: provocation to crimes and offenses, offenses against public property, crimes against persons, crimes against foreign heads of state and diplomatic agents. The law also refers to prohibited publications.

We detail below the main press offenses.

Provocation to crimes and offenses

Provocation to crimes and offenses

These are the following facts:

  • direct provocation to commit a crime or an offense, if the provocation is followed by effect (or if it is followed by an attempted crime): this provocation is likened to complicity in crime or offense;
  • direct provocation to commit certain facts, if this provocation is not followed by effect. These facts include, inter alia, willful assault on life, offenses affecting the fundamental interests of the nation, racial discrimination. According to the facts, sentences can range from 1 to 5 years in prison and / or 45,000 euros fine;
  • 1 year in prison and 45,000 euros fine for challenging crimes against humanity.