Al-Jazeera said on Tuesday that it will not show the video it obtained of the attacks on French soldiers, Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, lawmakers and the family member for the victims asked the news station not to broadcast the video depicting the killings from the Mohammed Merah's point of view, the man who pulled the trigger.
I call on the heads of the networks not to show the video under any circumstances, out of respect for the victims and respect for the Republic, Sarkozy said in a speech to police officers and judges, reported the New York Times.
On its website, the station said it will not air video of French shootings because the video did not add any information that was not already in public domain. It also did not meet the television station's code of ethics for broadcast.
The station also made a statement on television regarding the footage.
In accordance with Al Jazeera's Code of Ethics, given the video does not add any information that is not already in the public domain, its news channels will not be broadcasting any of its contents, the broadcaster said in a statement, according to the AP.
Tarrouche Zied, the network's Paris bureau chief, said the footage was reportedly sent to Al-Jazeera's Paris office on a USB drive with a letter, according to the Associated Press. He said the video was edited and contained religious songs and recitations of from the Quran.
The letter was reportedly written with poor spelling and many grammar errors as the writer claimed the shootings were carried out in the name of al-Qaida.
You can hear gunshots at the moment of the killings. You can hear the voice of this person who has committed these assassinations. You can hear also the cries of the victims, and the voices were distorted, Tarrouche said, reported the AP. Tarrouche said Al Jazeera had given the video to the police.
The New York Times reportedly asked in a phone interview if the footage was authentic.
Unfortunately, yes, he said. It was confirmed by the police on Monday.
A French official said that the envelope that was sent to Al-Jazeera contained a postmark from a large postal processing center around the area for Toulouse. However, it makes it unclear where the package was specifically mailed from and the official could not say who could have sent the package, reported the AP.
What we know is that it (the video) was reassembled. Things were added in. We don't know if the full sequence was in it. But it was not just the video as it was filmed. There was an editing process and additions made, said another unnamed French official, according to the AP, who also said the authorities were certain it was not Merah who mailed the package.
Authorities were able to trace the shootings to Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman with Algerian heritage. After a 32-hour standoff with police last week, Merah was killed at his apartment building. He claimed to police he made connections with al-Qaida and travelled to Afghanistan where he received weapons training
Prosecutors said that Merah had an camera around his neck as he began his killing spree on March 11, with the murder of a French soldier. Before the spree ended, two more soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi were all killed, while another student and soldier were wounded, reported the AP.