In Macron’s France, Free Speech is Only for Some | Opinion
Marco Perolini, Newsweek, le 13 novembre 2020
The French government is not the champion of free speech that it likes to think it is. In 2019, a court convicted two men for ’contempt’ after they burnt an effigy depicting President Macron during a peaceful protest. Parliament is currently discussing a new law that criminalizes the use of images of law enforcement officials on social media. It is hard to square this with the French authorities’ vigorous defence of the right to depict the Prophet Mohammed in cartoons.
France’s record on freedom of expression in other areas is just as bleak. Thousands of people are convicted every year for “contempt of public officials”, a vaguely defined criminal offence that law enforcement and judicial authorities have applied in massive numbers to silence peaceful dissent. In June this year, the European Court of Human Rights found that the convictions of 11 activists in France for campaigning for a boycott of Israeli products violated their free speech.