Thursday, October 07, 2010

No freedom of speech in France

In January a 19-year old French man was pulled over by the police at a traffic stop and forced to continue his journey on foot. So he did what people do these days: slagged them off on the internet. Last week he was sentenced to three months imprisonment as a result.

That news article translates the crime as "public outrage". Google translates it as holding public authority in contempt. Both capture the chilling nature of this prosecution. In France, it is a crime to be outraged at anyone in power. No wonder they have corruption scandals.

Being able to express outrage at the government is a fundamental human right, not to mention vital for preserving democracy. It is precisely the sort of expression freedom of speech exists to protect. But sadly, freedom of speech does not exist in France.