PARIS, (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy begged television networks on Tuesday not to broadcast video footage filmed by an al Qaeda-inspired gunman of his spate of deadly shootings in southern France this month.
France is still reeling at Mohamed Merah’s close-range shootings, a month before a presidential election, of three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers in the southern city of Toulouse.
Qatar-based network Al Jazeera said it was considering whether or not to air the images received at its Paris bureau on a memory stick late on Monday that were filmed by Merah with a camera attached to his body.
The clips had been edited into a montage with Islamic chants and readings from the Koran, the network said.
“I call on executives of all TV stations that may have the images in their possession not to broadcast them under any pretext out of respect for the victims and for France,” Sarkozy said following a meeting with police chiefs in Paris.
Al Jazeera staff sent a copy of the video montage on to the network’s headquarters in Qatar, Paris bureau chief Zied Tarrouche said on French BFM TV. He said management would decide later on Tuesday whether or not to broadcast the images.
France’s CSA broadcast regulator asked television channels to not broadcast the montage, a spokesman said.