French journalist Sandra Muller gives a press conference in Paris on Wednesday. Photo: AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Paris - A French woman was convicted on Wednesday of defamation over two tweets that launched France's equivalent of the #MeToo hashtag, broadcaster FranceInfo and other media reported.

Journalist Sandra Muller was ordered to pay former television station boss Eric Brion 15 000 euros compensation and 5 000 euros in legal costs for her tweets accusing him of harassment, FranceInfo reported.

In her October 2017 tweets, published in the wake of high-profile sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Muller called on women to name harassers with details of their acts.

The hashtag she created – #balancetonporc, literally meaning "expose your pig" – went viral as many women recounted experiences of harassment.

President Emmanuel Macron later announced a series of measures against harassment and in favour of gender equality.

Brion last year admitted to Europe1 radio that he had made sexual comments to Muller on one occasion during a night out, but denied harassing her and said they had no professional relationship.

FranceInfo quoted Muller's lawyer, Patrick Szpiner, as saying that the verdict was "eccentric" and "not of this time," and that his client would appeal.

"If you wanted women to shut up, you wouldn't go about it any differently," the broadcaster quoted him as saying.

But Brion's lawyer, Marie Burguburu, hailed it as a "modern and particularly courageous decision" that would "change the whole internet."

The judges "for the first time have said that the approach that consists of denouncing people on social media can be condemned," Burguburu told broadcaster BFMTV.

dpa