Outcry over summoning of French journalists by intel agency

PARIS (AP) — Media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders is urging French authorities to explain why the country's intelligence agency summoned eight journalists working on sensitive stories.

Secretary-general Christophe Deloire says the watchdog fears "an attempt to intimidate the journalists and their news organizations and to identify their sources so as to punish them or deter them."

Journalists with the investigative news site Disclose, newspaper Le Monde, France Inter radio and TV news show Quotidien recently were summoned about separate stories on French arms sales to Saudi Arabia and a political scandal involving former presidential security aide Alexandre Benalla.

The summons prompted criticism from press freedom advocates.

France is ranked 32nd out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index.