This gives rise to some interesting questions:
1. Is the City of Paris a legal entity that has locus standi to sue Fox news? It is arguable that is not and that it cannot sue for defamation. However, it might be able to bring a "representative claim" on behalf of individual Parisian businesses.
2. These businesses would have to prove that they had been negatively affected as a result of the Fox News item, for example by suffering financial losses.
3. Jurisdiction: is there a cause of action against Fox news in the US, given that the US First Amendment allows criticism of a governmental entities ?
3. While it might be technically possible to sue the part of Fox News based in France, it would be necessary to demonstrate that this French part of the company was in charge of Fox's coverage at the time.
There are further obstacles to suing in France: (i) the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines the right of freedom of expression. If the case ever came to court, Fox News would point out that France is a signatory to the ECHR; (ii) the US 2010 Speech Act, which gives media outlets special protection against decisions of foreign courts.
4. The prospects of achieving compensation may also be much diminished when apologies are offered quickly and repeatedly, as Fox did.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has said she plans to sue Fox News for a broadcast that described parts of the French capital as "no-go zones" for non-Muslims. But is it possible for a city to take out a libel action against a TV channel, asks Thomas Dahlhaus? Deputy mayor Patrick Klugman confirmed to the BBC on Wednesday that the mayor was "definitely serious" and that action would be taken "in the coming days". Fox News had rubbed salt into the wounds of the Charlie Hebdo attack, he said, by spreading "totally fake, false information" about the city - including popular tourist areas such as Montmartre.