French TV station fires journalist over unauthorised broadcasts

PARIS (Reuters) - French news channel BFMTV said on Thursday it had fired a senior TV presenter and filed a criminal complaint after media reports one of its anchors had broadcast disinformation.

Radio France and investigative website Forbidden Stories earlier this month reported that BFMTV anchor Rachid M’Barki had bypassed editorial controls to broadcast biased news segments about Russian oligarchs and foreign states including Qatar, Sudan and Cameroon.

M'Barki did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

He told French media earlier this month that some of the news segments had "not followed normal procedure" but denied ill intent.

BFMTV said that following the Radio France report, the station's shareholder Altice had terminated M'Barki's contract on Feb. 21 and that he had been suspended on Jan. 11 after BFMTV became aware of the Radio France investigation.

"The BFMTV journalist had inserted information in his newscasts without the approval of his supervisors and without respect for editorial guidelines," BFMTV said in a statement.

(Reporting by GV De Clercq; editing by Barbara Lewis)