We have been discussing the rollback of free speech in France where writers and speakers are now routinely prosecuted for what would be protected political or religious speech in the United States, including the recent conviction of Robert Menard, mayor of Beziers and a top adviser to Menard was found guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims for complaining about the increasing numbers of Muslim children in French schools. Now Le Pen is again being charged herself. She has been accused of the “distribution of violent images” for sending out tweets depicting ISIS propaganda and violence. It is again an example of France’s denial of free speech and particularly political speech. Regardless of how one feels about Le Pen’s views, these were core political expressions.
The 49-year-old political leaders faces three years in prison and a €75,000 (£66,000) fine.
She was put under investigation after complaints in December 2015 over a series of graphic social media posts , which included a photograph of the decapitated body of US journalist James Foley as well as a tank rolling over a man and a man being burned alive. All were examples of ISIS atrocities.
She wrote “Daesh is THIS!”
In the United States, this would be protected political speech. It should be protected to the same extent in France. However, we have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws, including the targeting . We have even seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).