Paris public transport bans ad critical of Sarkozy

Other News Materials 22 February 2008 12:52 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The advertising section of the RATP public transport network serving the greater Paris area has banned an advertising poster for a weekly magazine that suggests President Nicolas Sarkozy is mentally ill, the news web site Rue89 reported Friday.

According to the report, Metrobus - which controls the ads that appear in the buses, metros and trains serving the capital and its suburbs - rejected two versions of the ad for the weekly Courrier International.

Both ads show the cover of the magazine's new issue, with the headline on one reading "Madrid's View: Sarkozy Is a Seriously Ill Person."

When that was turned down by Metrobus, the magazine offered another version, with the headline "Madrid's View: Sarkozy - Sick with Ego," which was also refused.

The headlines referred to four stories produced for the magazine by the daily El Pais, whose assistant editor-in-chief Lluis Bassets wrote one of the articles.

In it, he writes: "The illness from which Sarkozy suffers is not as serious as (former French President Francois) Mitterand's prostate cancer, but it affects that vital organ, the ego, which suffers from a hypertrophy that is probably irreversible."

Rue89 suggested that the refusal by Metrobus to run the ads could be linked to the recent decisions by Sarkozy to go to court against ads and stories that displeased him.

In January he and his then-fiancee Carla Bruni sued low-cost carrier Ryanair for using their images without permission.

He later filed criminal charges against the web site of the weekly le Nouvel Observateur for running a story claiming that he had sent an SMS to his former wife one week before he married Bruni that read: "Come back and I'll cancel everything."