Montreal

François Bugingo, Quebec journalist, admits 'errors in judgment'

A Quebec journalist accused of inventing stories while working as a foreign correspondent has issued a lengthy Facebook missive admitting to embellishing and romanticizing certain articles.

Quebec journalist reported from Bosnia, Afghanistan and Egypt over 20-plus-year career

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. (Radio-Canada)

François Bugingo — the Quebec journalist accused of inventing stories while working as a foreign correspondent — issued a lengthy Facebook missive admitting to misdeeds.

On Friday night, he began his note by saying he has become the subject of a "media lynching."

This, following an investigative story by La Presse journalist Isabelle Hachey looking into questionable claims made by Bugingo including the fact that he had supposedly landed a rare interview with a son of slain Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and then didn't publish it.

Hachey has covered many of the same stories as Bugingo and said she had "a lot of suspicion" about the veracity of some of his reporting.

She uncovered alleged falsified and embellished reporting dating back to Sarajevo in 1993, during the Bosnian war.

Following Hachey's story, Bugingo was suspended by some of his biggest freelance clients, including 98.5 FM and Groupe Média, which owns Le Journal de Montréal, Le Journal de Québec and the television network TVA, 

Reporter admits to 'romanticizing' stories

In his long Facebook note, he admitted to having made up some stories. He called them "errors in judgment" and lamented the demise of his career as a consequence of their being uncovered.

He explained, in French, that his actions were motivated by "an obsession to capture the interest of the Quebec public on subjects that often seem far off from them."

He admitted to "romanticizing" an online story about the execution of a former executioner in Misrata, Libya, to make it more of a compelling story.

He admitted to falsifying or embellishing information in several other stories, as well. He said he profoundly regretted his actions and he apologized to his colleagues, the public and his friends.

He said he would turn in his press card with the FPJQ, the Quebec professional journalists' federation.

Earlier in the week, he said he would be leaving public life. Now he is saying he will take a big step back to reflect on his future. "No matter the hat I wear tomorrow, I am not saying goodbye, I am saying see you later," he wrote.

Read his Facebook note (in French) here:

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.