French Media Watchdog slams M6 TV unethical reporting in Chetcuti Cauchi case

December 16 00:25 2023 by The Editor Print This Article

Court condemns M6, Enquete Exclusif for fabricated defamatory claims 

French Media Watchdog Arrêt Sur Images reported the conviction of French national TV M6 and Ligne de Front production “Enquête exclusive" for criminal defamation for fabricating claims, misrepresenting a recording of a meeting with Maltese lawyer Jean-Philippe Chetcuti Cauchi on the subject of Maltese citizenship by investment. The original footage shows Dr Chetcuti describing at length the 4-tier due diligence process for Maltese citizenship and how a bad reputation could lead to rejection despite a clean police record and clean source of wealth, thereby rubbishing contrary claims by the French TV.

Loris Guémart, from the French Media Watchdog, broadcast the report on the unethical journalistic practices of M6 published by the Times of Malta last week in the latest episode of the show Proxy, broadcast by French media analysis platform Arrêt Sur Images.  Founded by journalist Daniel Schneidermann, Arrêt sur Images is primarily focused on media criticism and the examination of how news and information are presented in the mainstream media, often highlighting biases, inaccuracies, or misleading representations in media coverage.

"Journalists' defence was that their own footage should not be used as evidence against them not to incriminate them, and, in any case, that their claims did not insinuate any impropriety on the part of Chetcuti other than being well-versed in immigration law in a way to serve his clients better."
Jean-Philippe Chetcuti wins passport defamation case against French TV
French court finds that secretly recorded interviews were edited in bad faith."
Times of Malta

The French Court of Criminal Appeal reviewed the original footage presented by Chetcuti as evidence, and the Court found Nicolas de Tavernost, chairman of the publisher, Groupe M6, and Bernard de La Villardière, CEO of production company Ligne de Frontboth guilty of criminal defamation, given that their voice-over did not correspond to the actual conversation recorded. 

“Distortion of the facts”: French media executives guilty of libel in Chetcuti Cauchi case."

This judgement comes after a series of official statements announcing the untrue nature of the accusations. The 2019 audit by the Regulator of the IIP of the Maltese Citizenship Agency thoroughly examined all applications managed by the firm and found no evidence of wrongdoing or biassed treatment. A few months later, the Investment Migration Council, the professional association, assessed the video provided by its member and determined that the video was ample proof of the baseless nature of the allegations and the ethical conduct of its member.  All professional and regulatory bodies have cleared Dr Chetcuti and hold him in good standing, including the Office of the Regulator of the IIP (November 2019), the IMC (Professional Body) (February 2020), the PCAC (Nov. 2023), and various other professional bodies and regulators, of which Dr Chetcuti is publicly still a member in good standing.

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chetcuti is a prominent but private figure on the Maltese legal scene.  In 2002, he co-founded Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, a top-tier Maltese law firm advising international business families and entrepreneurs on legal and tax matters on an international level. In recent years, he has made a name for himself in the fields of investment migration and private wealth law and has won a number of accolades, including, more recently, the Chambers & Partners HNW Lawyer ranking for Malta.

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