François Bugingo, foreign correspondent, withdraws from public amid allegations

A prominent French-language foreign correspondent says he will withdraw from public life to prepare a response, following allegations that he fabricated and embellished some of his stories.

High-profile journalist 'committed to defending my integrity,' will prepare a thorough response

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. He is accused of fabricating or embellishing stories, and has been suspended indefinitely from contributing to several media outlets. (Radio-Canada)

A prominent French-language foreign correspondent says he will withdraw from public life to prepare a response, following allegations that he fabricated and embellished some of his stories.

François Bugingo has been suspended indefinitely from contributing to several Montreal media outlets, including 98.5 FM, Le Journal de Montréal and TVA. 

The suspensions come after La Presse reported the high-profile Quebec journalist fabricated and embellished some of his stories, dating back to Sarajevo in 1993. 

Bugingo has denied the allegations. On his Facebook page, he said he was "stunned" by the report. 

In a formal statement released on Sunday, he said he would be withdrawing from his public life temporarily while he prepares a response to the allegations. 

"I am committed to defending my integrity and proving my professionalism," Bugingo said in the statement.

The journalist added that he and his lawyer are co-operating with his various employers to answer any questions or concerns raised by the report.

He apologized for any inconveniences caused by the situation.

La Presse reporter 'had a lot of suspicion'

CBC's Daybreak spoke with La Presse journalist Isabelle Hachey about her investigation. 

"I did it because I had a lot of suspicion," she told Daybreak Montreal host Mike Finnerty. 

Hachey said one thing that caught her eye was an interview Bugingo supposedly conducted with Seif al-Islam, Gadhafi's second son.

Hachey said she was in the country and also tried to get an interview with al-Islam and people told her to "forget it."

When asked whether she had thought about what her report would mean for Bugingo's career, Hachey said she had thought about the consequences, but ultimately decided it was the right decision.

"I'm sad about it. I think it's of public interest to publish this," she said.​

With files from CBC's Benjamin Shingler

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