Three journalists for Al Jazeera were questioned by police related to breaking French law and flying drones in Paris.
“Flying drones without a license in France is illegal and carries a maximum one-year prison sentence and a €75,000 (£55,000) fine,” the Guardian reported.
In a press statement on its website, Al Jazeera said “Three Al Jazeera English journalists have been released after being held overnight by the police in Paris following filming a report on the city’s recent mystery drones. Our team were questioned by the police and released after spending 19 hours in custody.”
Al Jazeera said its staff was “attempting to illustrate a piece to camera on domestic drones which are widely available, while also attempting to cover the recent drone mysteries in Paris and wider security concerns in France.”
Those “mystery” drones had been seen near the Opera, the Tuileries, the Eiffel Tower and other Paris sights.
According to Newsweek, “there is no indication” the drones over the landmarks were being flown by the Al Jazeera journalists. That was confirmed by the French prosecution whose spokesperson told the BBC there is “no relationship for the moment” between the drones at landmarks and the Al Jazeera journalists.
“The first was piloting the drone, the second was filming and the third was watching,” an anonymous source with the French police told the AFP. iMediaEthics has written to the French police for comment.
Sky News pointed to senior Al Jazeera correspondent Jacky Rowland’s tweet
— Jacky Rowland (@jackyaljaz) February 25, 2015
She also tweeted early in the morning Feb. 26 that two of the three were released.
iMediaEthics has written to Al Jazeera for comment.