in , ,

French Constitutional Court stands up for free speech in striking down “anti-terrorist” law

French judges have made it clear that watching disagreeable content does not constitute a conspiracy to commit a violent act.

The French Constitutional Court has struck down a piece of legislation that would criminalise the viewing of what the French government deems to be “terrorist” websites.

The court ruled that the legislation was an extreme and disproportionate infringement on the freedom of expression and that the provisions of the legislation were neither necessary nor adequate, given provisions of existing laws used to fight genuine terrorism.

The now annulled law, proposed to imprison those found guilty for two years, in addition to forcing them to pay a fine of €30,000.

The Court’s ruling could have implications throughout Europe and the wider world, as governments salivate at the prospect of punishing people for viewing online content.

There are several fatal flaws in the French legislation, beyond the very valid legal opinion derived by the Constitution Court of France.

First of all, there has never been any legitimate scientific study that has been able to prove a link between viewing violent content and committing violent acts.

During the 1980s, the wives of prominent US Senators attempted to pass legislation restricting the sale of heavy-metal and contemporary R & B music records and tapes, under the guise that violent or erotic lyrics have a negative effect on listeners. At the time, no scientific study was able to confirm any such linkage.

This theory was put to the test in US courts in two separate lawsuits. In 1986, the singer Ozzy Osbourne was sued by the parents of a teenager who killed himself. The complaint alleged that Osbourne’s 1980 song “Suicide Solution” was responsible for their son’s act of self-inflicted violence.

The court found that there was no link between listening to the song and the boy’s suicide.

A similar case was filed in a California court in 1990 against the heavy-metal band Judas Priest. Here it was once again alleged that the band’s recording of a song originally recorded by the band Spooky Tooth, “Better by You, Better than Me”, was reponsible for the attempted suicide of two teenage boys.

The court in this case found that there was no link between listening to certain kinds of music and committing acts of self-harm.

While few today would argue that heavy-metal music is actually harmful, just a few short decades ago they did. Today, individuals of the same kidney are arguing that watching videos and reading the literature of terrorist groups is harmful, but there is still on scientific evidence suggesting that their fears are true.

If everyone who has ever watched a terrorist beheading video was literally insane enough to act it out, the view counter on such videos would indicate that there would be far more international terrorism than there presently is, or ever has been.

Furthermore, there are two other problems with the kind of legislation struck down in France.

First of all, it allows exceptions for journalists and researchers who view terrorist content online. What though constitutes a journalist in 2017?

Today, there are many people who are not specifically employed or accredited as journalists who de-facto produce journalism whether on their own websites, websites operated by others or on social media.

Do you really trust various deep states to determine who is and who is not a “journalist”, in an age where those same governments are trying to censor an unambiguously legitimate journalistic outlet like RT? I for one certainly do not trust such people in this capacity.

Then one gets into the even murkier issue of what constitutes terrorist content. In Ukraine, the Donbass freedom fighters are considered terrorists, but in most of the rest of the world they are not. In the United States, Saudi Arabia and some of Europe, the Lebanese political party Hezbollah, which has ministers in the governing coalition, is considered a terrorist organisation, but in the vast majority of the world including in Russia and China, they are not.

The Turkish President recently called Israel a “terrorist state”.  Does this mean that a Zionist from the Netherlands should be arrested in Turkey for logging on to his favourite websites while at a professional conference in Istanbul?

While groups like ISIS/Daesh and al-Qaeda are almost universally condemned, beyond this, there is an incredibly dangerous slippery slope.

Donald Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley recently called Iran a sponsor of terrorism, even though there is no evidence to prove Iran does anything but fight terrorism. Should Iranian media viewers in the US all be imprisoned for disagreeing with Nikki Haley’s baseless assumption? The answer, for any fair minded individual is an unambiguous: NO!

With other European countries including Germany and the UK considering similar legislation as the one struck down in France, people ought to think twice before rushing to criminalise viewing any online content, no matter how disagreeable.

For those who actually are conspiring to commit an atrocity, there are age old statutes on the books in almost all nations, that simply ought to be enforced adequately in order to combat the genuine threat of terrorism.

Perhaps the inadequacy of certain countries to enforce such legislation, is the real reason for taking the cowards way out and seeking to imprison people for the crime of having eyes and viewing something they disagree with. After all such a method is easier than actually going after legitimately violent people.

For those who actually want to see terrorism destroyed, there is actually a strong case to be made in favour of watching terrorist videos in order to understand what anti-terrorist forces like the Syrian Arab Army are up against.

Marine Le Pen is correct – everybody should watch videos of ISIS atrocities

Below is an English translation of the full opinion of the French Constitutional Court:

“The Constitutional Council was seized on October 9, 2017 by the Council of State of a priority question of constitutionality concerning article 421-2-5-2 of the penal code, in its drafting resulting from the law n ° 2017- 258 of February 28, 2017 relating to public security.

These provisions reinstated, under a new wording, the offense of habitual consultation of terrorist websites whose Constitutional Council had censored an initial drafting by its decision n ° 2016-611 QPC of February 10, 2017. Article 421-2-5 -2 of the Penal Code, in this new wording, sanctions a penalty of two years imprisonment and 30 000 euros fine the fact of consulting in a usual way, without legitimate reason, a service of communication to the public on line advocating or provoking the commission of acts of terrorism and involving images or representations of willful attacks on life. The purpose of this offense is to prevent the indoctrination of

It was argued, in particular, that the freedom of communication was disregarded by those provisions since the infringement of the contested provision was neither necessary, given the legal provisions already in force, nor adequate and proportionate.

By its decision of today, the Constitutional Council recalls its consistent jurisprudence inferring from Article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of 1789 that in the present state of the means of communication and with regard to the development of public services and the importance of these services for participation in democratic life and the expression of ideas and opinions, the freedom of communication implies the freedom to access such services. services. On the basis of Article 34 of the Constitution, it is open to the legislator to enact rules of a kind to reconcile with the exercise of the right of free communication and freedom to speak, write and print the pursuit of the objective of combating incitement and provocation to terrorism on online public communication services, which contributes to the objective of constitutional value of safeguarding public order and preventing crime. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. write and print the pursuit of the objective of combating incitement and provocation of terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing offenses. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. write and print the pursuit of the objective of combating incitement and provocation of terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing offenses. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. incitement and provocation to terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing crime. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. incitement and provocation to terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing crime. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. public order and the prevention of infringements. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. public order and the prevention of infringements. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued.

The Constitutional Council adds that, since the enactment of the impugned provisions, the legislature has supplemented the enactment of the legislative provisions previously in force in its decision of February and reproduced in paragraphs 7 to 11 of today’s decision. by adopting, by Law No. 2017-1510 of 30 October 2017 strengthening internal security and the fight against terrorism, new individual measures of administrative control and surveillance to prevent the commission of acts of terrorism. He infers from this that in view of the necessity requirement of the infringement of the freedom of communication,

As regards the adaptation and proportionality requirements for the infringement of the freedom of communication, the Constitutional Council notes that, if the impugned provisions provide that, in order to fall within the scope of the offense which they establish, consultation must be accompanied by the manifestation of adherence to the ideology expressed on the sites consulted, this consultation and this event are not likely to establish by themselves the existence of a will to commit terrorist acts. These provisions thus punish with a sentence of two years imprisonment the mere fact of consulting several times an online public communication service, without the constituting element of the offense constituting the terrorist intent of the author of the consultation. In addition, if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed such sites may appear to be one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. terrorist intent of the author of the consultation. In addition, if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed such sites may appear to be one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. terrorist intent of the author of the consultation. In addition, if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed such sites may appear to be one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to be one of the legitimate examples of reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to be one of the legitimate examples of reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. in particular because a person who adheres to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to come across one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. in particular because a person who adheres to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to come across one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information.

The Constitutional Council deduces from all the foregoing that the impugned provisions undermine the exercise of the freedom of communication which is not necessary, adapted and proportionate. He declares them therefore unconstitutional by giving immediate effect to this declaration”.

The Duran
EUR
DONATE
Send us €20 or more and we'll send you The Duran mug absolutely FREE - we'll even cover the shipping!

Will you help expose the lies of the mainstream media?

As a reader of The Duran, you are well aware of all the propaganda and disinformation reported by the mainstream media. You know how important it is to bring real news to light.

Please support The Duran and help us keep reporting on news that is fair, balanced, and real.

Advertisements

What do you think?

13 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 15

Upvotes: 14

Upvotes percentage: 93.333333%

Downvotes: 1

Downvotes percentage: 6.666667%

Leave a Reply

Loading…

Stephen Cohen blasts mainstream media lies on Russia and Trump “collusion” (Video)

Turkey’s President Erdogan in thinly veiled attack on Saudi Arabia