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François Bugingo, International - recognized journalist of Rwandese origin in trouble for reporting fabricated stories

A prominent French-language foreign correspondent has been suspended by several of his employers following a report he fabricated and embellished some of his stories.

The radio station 98.5 FM and Groupe Média, which owns Le Journal de Montréal, Le Journal de Québec and the television network TVA, released separate statements Saturday saying François Bugingo was suspended indefinitely, pending a review of the allegations against him.

Both statements noted Bugingo was a freelance contributor, not a full-time staff member.

Bugingo, who was born in Congo, is a high-profile Quebec journalist who has covered conflicts around the world for TV, radio and print publications.

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François Bugingo, a Quebec freelance foreign correspondent, has contributed to outlets including 98.5 FM, La Presse, TVA, Le Devoir, Journal de Montréal, and Radio-Canada.

The suspensions come following a La Presse report alleging Bugingo fabricated and embellished some of his stories dating back to Sarajevo in 1993.

In one instance, La Presse says Bugingo fabricated a story about how he helped negotiate the release of a journalist held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mauritania in 2010.

In an interview with La Presse a year later, he recounted how he was threatened by Al-Qaeda terrorists as airplanes circled overhead.

"If those planes shoot [at us], we’re going to kill everyone," Bugingo claimed he was told.

Bugingo denies allegations

In a post on his Facebook page Saturday, Bugingo denied any wrongdoing, saying he was "stunned by the attack."

Addressing his Faceboook followers, he wrote, "For the past two years you have been with me every day on the radio, on TV, in the newspaper and on digital platforms, and you know that the information I share with you is always verified, credible and worthy of your attention."

Bugingo added that he intends to respond to the specific allegations.

Over his lengthy career, Bugingo has contributed to a number of media outlets, including La Presse, TVA, Le Devoir, Journal de Montréal, Télé-Québec and Radio-Canada.

In a statement, the Quebec Federation of Professional Journalists called the allegations "serious" and said they could hurt "the credibility of the journalistic profession."

The federation said it wanted to give Bugingo a chance to respond to the allegations.


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