At G-20 media centre, French journalists are a quiet few

As they sit in that corner of Kaya Palazzo hotel’s international media centre, with empty seats, many journalists and officials drop by and express their condolences on the attacks.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Antalya | Published: November 16, 2015 1:01:27 am
G20, G20 summit, paris, Paris attacks, France, France attack news, g20 summit news, g20 news, g20 meet, paris news, turkey news, world news Only a handful of French journalists are covering the summit in Antalya. (Express Photo)

Tucked away in a quiet corner in the otherwise bustling media centre of the G-20 summit, Christophe Decroix sits quietly with his laptop and headphones on Sunday and is filing his report on the quotes from world leaders from Paris attacks, including those from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Next to him and a few colleagues is the row of empty seats, with “Pool of Presse France” — with French flags on them, and dedicated plug points and work-stations. He is one of about 6 journalists from Paris — who have come to cover the G-20 summit in Antalya. “About 30 of us were supposed to come for the summit, but after the attacks, only a handful of us have come,” he says.

Less than 48 hours ago, Decroix was in his flat in Paris — about two km away from one of the spots where the terrorists struck.

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“I was at home with my family that night… at about 10 pm, I saw the news alerts on my phone… and then switched on the TV to find out that there were terror attacks. We could hear blaring sirens on the street. Then messages and calls started coming from friends and family asking if we were okay,” Decroix, 55, who works as the chief editor of RTL, a French radio station.

Through the night, he exchanged messages and calls with the Elysee Palace, who informed that the French President Francois Hollande will not attend the summit.

Next to him sits Dominique Baillard, 48, who is the economic writer for Radio France International, another French radio station. “I know at least two people who were at the concert, when the attacks took place. One of them has died, while the other person has been injured,” Baillard, who is a mother of a 13-year-old, said. “It is being said that each of us knew at least someone who has been affected by the terror attacks,” she says.

Yves-Michel Riols, a journalist with Le Monde, a French newspaper, is the only print journalist to have come from Paris. “I am gripped with a total feeling of bewilderment… We don’t live in war zones. One of the defining features of European society after the second World War is that violence is not used as a tool. So this is totally alien to us, to our culture, our reflex,” Riols, the newspaper’s foreign affairs correspondent, says.

He says that these bars, pubs and concerts are “symbols of life in France, which signify leisure, distraction, collective pleasures, and have been deliberately targetted”.

He says that, apart from worrying about the immediate present, he thinks about the possible conequences of this attacks to the fabric of the French society. “Will we become more inward-looking, resentful, and live in fear or become united and show solidarity,” he says philosophically.

“I am unable to understand the reasons, why these youth took up violence. It’s an open society… but it seems, that is not enough, freedom is not enough. These people don’t feel that they are part of the society, feel rejected,” he says.

As they sit in that corner of Kaya Palazzo hotel’s international media centre, with empty seats, many journalists and officials drop by and express their condolences on the attacks. These French journalists are busy tracking the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ meetings, since Decroix says, he is “the number two in the French government” and has been involved in the diplomatic negotiations in Syria.

Amid all the work, Baillard checks on her 13-year-old daughter on how she’s doing, back home in Paris.

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