24 Hours after Charlie Hebdo incident, French lawmakers ban websites promoting or condoning terrorism

France government issues a Decree to ban websites inciting or condoning acts of terrorism and websites disseminating pornographic images or representations of minors

It took French government just 24 hours to rush in a Decree to ban websites which incite or condone acts of terrorism.

The new decree which was issued by European Commission on 8.1.2015 enables the French government and authorities to ban any website without any warrant or approval of judge.

France has been a liberal polity as far as freedom of speech is concerned.  Even satire magazine Charlie Hebdo was born out of the tumultaneous 1970 when industrial, labour and student revolutions were a everyday affair in France.  It was born as Hara Kiri and was banned for a brief period of 6 months. Its claim to fame and the reason for ban was the famous spoof in November 1970 when it released a cover headlined “Tragic Ball at Colombey, one dead.”  The cover was published after former French president Charles de Gaulle died in his home village of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, eight days after a disaster in a nightclub, the Club Cinq-Sept fire, which caused the death of 146 people.  It was restarted in its current avatar in 1991 after Gébé, Cabu and others got together again during the gulf war.

Before this decree following websites were illegal and liable to be banned in France

  • Websites about pedopornography,
  • Negationism as in “The holocaust may have not happened”,
  • Justification of hate crimes and crimes against humanity.

Now with this decree the government and the authorities can ban any website which promotes child pornography websites or websites inciting or condoning acts of terrorism.  The Government through the Ministry of the Interior will now send the French ISP’s the list of electronic addresses of online public communication services failing to comply with the provisions of the Penal Code, in order that the service providers may block the websites in question within 24 hours. The chosen blocking technique shall operate at domain name level. The list of electronic addresses of online public communication services shall be sent to internet service providers by secure means, thereby guaranteeing that its confidentiality and integrity will be preserved. The decree also sets out the procedures whereby internet service providers may receive financial compensation from the State in respect of any costs incurred as a result of implementing this procedure.

France currently ranks 39 (2014 rank) on the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders.  The above decree is going to degrade French standing further as it may be seen as step against freedom of speech and press freedom.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I think they’re taking the wrong approach. Cracking the communications within the militant organizations might yield better intelligence and results.

  2. I hope this does not lead to a totalitarian society in France and worldwide after this! Because maybe it’s just another excuse for the government to steal authority and power in the wake of these incidents!

  3. It’s not the solution…

    I am afraid that this government will use censure to, later, ban other websites (indie newspapers) and for a simple reason : “security”.

  4. The problem with free speech is that it is based on the premise that it is a universal value that everyone accepts. It isn’t. Rather free speech is a liberal position. Liberalism doesn’t represent the default position. Billions of people around the world are not liberals. The 1.5 billion Muslims across the world don’t accept that you are free to insult Muhammad (saws) in the name of free speech. Practising Christians across the world from deepest Africa to the US Bible belt don’t accept that Jesus be insulted. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists all over the world do not accept that their religious symbols be insulted.. It is of the most basic human civility to respect others. That is a real universal value. That is the starting point – not free speech. To insult others is to treat them with gross insensitivity, insolence, or contemptuous rudeness. So the onus is upon those who want to allow such behaviour to prove why this depravity should be permitted.

    as far as the terrorist attack is concerned its a shameful act… and neither the QURAN NOR TEACHINGS OF PROPHET S.W.S PROMOTE VIOLENCE.. so killing people in the name of Allah or prophet is wrong.. that’s not Islam!!

    • Fair enough, I see your point and agree to some degree. But what is offensive to some may not be to others, one may feel insulted by just about anything, and often only because they have different views…
      If we allow some people to dictate what can or cannot be said, painted, filmed, written, etc. because someone might resent it, then we can kiss freedom of speech goodbye.
      We have courts of law and liable laws for such grievances.

      Thanks for speaking against violance, if more muslims would speak out so veemently against these barberic acts, there wouldn’t others inclined to repeat them.

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