NEWS

Francois Bugingo, Quebec Journalist, Suspended Following Report Alleging Fabrication

05/23/2015 05:50 EDT | Updated 05/23/2016 05:59 EDT
Daniel Tremblay/Facebook
MONTREAL - Well-known foreign correspondent Francois Bugingo says he is "stunned" by a newspaper report alleging he fabricated information in several of his stories over the years.

The report in Montreal's La Presse newspaper alleges that Bugingo did not visit several places at the times he claimed and falsified his involvement in several international incidents including a hostage negotiation.

The newspaper says it based its story in part on a number of interviews with people from some of the places that Bugingo said he reported from.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Bugingo described the article as "degrading," and wrote that the information he presents in his stories is "always verified."

He said he will defend his integrity and respond to the specific allegations against him.

One of Bugingo's employers, 98.5 radio, announced it was suspending its collaboration with him while it looks into the allegations in La Presse. In a separate statement, television network TVA announced a similar action.

In a statement, the Quebec Federation of Professional Journalists said it was "very concerned" with the situation, and hoped to meet with Bugingo. They described the allegations as "very serious" and said they risked "staining the credibility of the journalistic profession."

Due to the gravity and what they described as the "systemic" nature of the allegations, the federation issued an invitation to Bugingo to explain himself.

In serious cases, the federation can sanction its members with suspension or expulsion.

In his statement, Bugingo did not say whether he would respond to the invitation.

Bugingo has been a regular contributor to several media outlets including 98.5 FM radio and the Journal de Montreal. He has also appeared on TVA television, Tele-Quebec and Radio-Canada.

Reaction has been swift on social media, including a Facebook post from Isabelle Hachey, author of the La Presse report. She said serious doubts arose after reading Bugingo's articles.