French Censorship Bill Will Protect Status Quo if Passed

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

The French censorship bill is called a “fake news law,” which is fake news.

It wasn’t that long ago that some Muslims gunned down the staff of a blasphemous magazine. Immediately, we were all supposed to stand for “Western values” and “French values” by celebrating the freedom to mock religions, Christianity included, in the most vile way imaginable.

All right. If that’s the price of freedom of speech then I’ll gladly pay it…

And now only a few years later, we have a French censorship bill, posing as a “fake news” bill. So much for “French values”!

Here’s Emmanuel Macron suggesting that France needs to be a compromise between the U.S. and China in how it treats freedom of speech of social media:

AFP reports, “France’s fake news law leaves media experts uneasy.

The draft law, designed to stop what the government calls “manipulation of information” in the run-up to elections, will be debated in parliament Thursday with a view to it being put into action during next year’s European parliamentary polls.

The idea for the bill came straight from President Emmanuel Macron, who was himself targeted during his 2017 campaign by online rumours that he was gay and had a secret bank account in the Bahamas.

Under the law, French authorities would be able to immediately halt the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections.

Social networks would have to introduce measures allowing users to flag up false reports, pass their data on such articles to authorities, and make public their efforts against fake news.

And the law would authorise the state to take foreign broadcasters off the air if they were attempting to destabilise France — a measure seemingly aimed at Russian state-backed outlet RT in particular.

[…]

The British government has set up a “fake news” unit, while Italy has an online service to report false articles and the European Union is working on a “code of practice” that would provide guidelines for social media companies.

France wants to go further — though not as far as neighbouring Germany, where social networks face fines of up to 50 million euros ($58 million) under a controversial law which critics say is overly draconian.

Some opponents fear French authorities could use powers in the new law to block embarrassing or compromising reports.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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