French Government To Make Insulting Mayors A Criminal Offense

from the we-love-free-speech-but-[unrolls-growing-list-of-exceptions] dept

French government entities continue to clamp down on speech. Following a terrorist attack on a French satirical newspaper, government leaders vowed to double down on protecting controversial speech. The govenment then fast-tracked several prosecutions under its anti-terrorism laws, which included arresting a comedian for posting some anti-semitic content. It further celebrated its embrace of free speech by arresting a man for mocking the death of three police officers.

A half-decade later, that same commitment to protecting speech no one might object to continues. The country's government passed a terrible hate speech law that would have allowed law enforcement to decide what content was acceptable (and what was arrestable.) Fortunately for its citizens, the country's Constitutional Court decided the law was unlawful and struck down most of it roughly a month later.

But that's not the end of bad speech laws in France. Government officials seem to have an unlimited amount of bad ideas. Some government officials are being hit with far more than objectionable words. Assaults of French mayors continue to occur at the rate of about once a day. Mayors assaulted and unassaulted have asked the French government to do more to protect them from these literal attacks.

The government has responded. And it's not going to make mayors any more popular or make them less likely to be physically attacked.

Any insult targeted at a French mayor will now be treated as contempt - an offence that carries a maximum penalty of community service or a €7,500 fine - France's justice minister has announced.

“Any attack perpetuated against a mayor is an attack perpetuated against the Republic”, warned French Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti on Wednesday after a ministerial meeting to which local mayor associations were invited, according to BFMTV.

Assault is already a crime, so the government has ways to deal with those who physically attack government officials. This new wrinkle makes being mean to them a crime. The Republic as a whole will feel every insult targeting a town mayor. So will the people uttering the insults. $7,500 fines and/or 280 hours of community service await those who like to fight with their words, rather than their fists.

This may trim down the number of public insults but it's hardly going to make the government any more popular with the governed. If French citizens are physically attacking mayors 300+ times a year, there's something more going on that just a little bit of assholishness that's gotten out of hand. Protecting people from violence is something any government should do. But protecting them from being insulted is something only authoritarians do.

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Filed Under: france, free speech, insults, mayors, politics


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 3:39pm

    Well then, everyone is safe.

    It's pretty much impossible to insult a French mayor, after all.

    Talk about overreach. What's next, the death sentence for failing to praise the French President over breakfast?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 3:49pm

    You know all the arguments about slippery slopes and censorship vis-á-vis free speech? That slope doesn’t start with people getting booted from Twitter for using racial slurs. That slope starts with a government telling its citizens that it has outlawed any criticism they may have of said government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 4:55pm

      Re:

      "That slope doesn’t start with people getting booted from Twitter for using racial slurs."

      Surely you jest.

      If that's all it was, left wing moonbats might have a point, but as anyone with a modicum of honesty has to admit, people are getting banned from social media for far, far less.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 5:19pm

        Twitter isn’t the entirety of social media and you need to accept that. Nobody is owned a spot on Twitter and you need to accept that. You’re not entitled to make other people listen to/host your speech and you need to accept that.

        Only when you come to terms with these facts can we have a conversation. Until then, you’re a bad faith agitator and you’re not getting any further with me than this.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 5:50pm

        Re: Re:

        [Citation Needed], I'm curious as to what is 'far, far less' than racial slurs and yet has resulted in not just a dinged account but a full-on boot out the door.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 1:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Plenty of options, given how so many of the "alt-right" rationalize things. Advocating the firebombing of an abortion clinic, for instance, or, in their twisted logic, a call for declaring Black Lives Matter protestors and anti-fascists "terrorists".

          The way the current alt-right defines "racism" they could dance around a burning cross on a black man's lawn, singing old confederate slave whipping hymns dressed in white sheets and hoods and still not hit the bar required to be judged "racist".

          The "I'm not racist, but..." crowd just keeps moving the boundaries.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:59pm

        Re: Re:

        "people are getting banned from social media for far, far less"

        Oooh is there we finally get the citation we've been asking from you people for years? Or are we yet again means to just believe you, because every time you attempt honest discourse we find that there were very good reasons for bans, so you will refuse to provide any examples?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Tanner Andrews (profile), 14 Sep 2020 @ 1:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "people are getting banned from social media for far, far less"

          Not so! People who found twitter inhospitable started a movement a few months ago. And by moving, I mean they are moving themselves to Parler. According to the Parler web page, they ``allow free speech and do not censor ideas, political parties or ideologies''.

          Indeed, I seem to recall at the time several prominent twits announcing their moves to Parler. Maybe someone just missed the notice at the time? At any rate, Parler is still there for those with controversial views.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 12:56am

        Re: Re:

        "If that's all it was, left wing moonbats might have a point, but as anyone with a modicum of honesty has to admit, people are getting banned from social media for far, far less."

        You mean they're getting banned for saying that Covid is a hoax, the LGBTQ community is Satan's Army On Earth, or that a glass of chlorox a day keeps the doctor away?

        Anyone with a modicum of honesty - apparently ruling you out - would realize that moving the goalposts on a topic and mumble a few falsehoods about something irrelevant to that topic is just the act of another troll with an axe to grind.

        Oh, and by the way, Baghdad Bob - thanks for being so inherently unable to mouth the word "liberals" without an insult. Knowing the guy who commented is a troll straight out of the alt-right echo chamber makes it so much easier to recognize the cheap propaganda.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 3:57pm

    Anne Hidalgo est une idiote complète

    Arrest me, le bitches.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 9 Sep 2020 @ 4:24pm

    Dear Frenchies, perpetuated is not the same as perpetrated... typo? bad translation? ooh la la

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 4:43pm

    Fuck the Fifth Republic.

    Come at me, bros.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 4:58pm

    Seems to me that yet another country is turning into a old style Germany look alike. Think of all the lives that could have been saved!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 7:30pm

      Re:

      Pretty much all countries were like this once. That Germany was just the last big grasp for *"the good old days". Familiar, yeah?

      *Contains a real component, what things were like in an older order, and the imaginary component known as "good".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 1:09am

      Re:

      "Seems to me that yet another country is turning into a old style Germany look alike."

      Not really. France 2020 is just trying to turn into France 1700.

      The french have always had a strange association with their government where the citizenry as a whole and the government both assume the fundamental relationship between the two must be hostility and suspicion.

      So the government promulgates laws either senseless or deliberately meant to embarrass, harm, marginalize or punish the citizens and the citizens make a great show of defying the government én másse. Then on the side minor government officials and citizens quietly get shit done while utterly ignoring the imprecations screamed across the champs elysees.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2020 @ 6:07am

        Re: Re:

        Are the French unique in this characterization?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2020 @ 2:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, but the style is.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 12:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah. The french style is just incomparable.

            Imagine, in washington, some farmer driving up with a dung spreader and hose down the Capitol. Now imagine the congressmen and senators standing calmly inside the doors waiting for the shit-shower to subside, with a few proactive thinkers already taking galoshes, umbrellas and waterproof ponchos out of their lockers while pointing and laughing at the rookie aides and assistants running for their lives.

            Then imagine the red-necked farmer driving away again while screaming a long tirade of sulphurous imprecations in his wake in stentorian tones echoing for several city blocks.

            Then imagine the rest of the day just moving right along, hopefully with someone giving enough of a shit to call a fire truck to hose the building down with water.

            To actually make headlines french farmers have started making protests in ways which in the US would involve the feds trying to link, for instance, crushing tens of thousands of champagne bottles on a major highway to terrorism.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 14 Sep 2020 @ 6:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Imagine, in washington, some farmer driving up with a dung spreader and hose down the Capitol.

              Reference:

              https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-protests/french-farmers-dump-manure-o utside-office-of-macron-party-lawmaker-idUSKCN1US0JC

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Sep 2020 @ 12:39am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Thanks. Goes a long way to illustrate the difference between US protests...and french ones.

                The odd part about it is that in france when government and citizenry are divided to a point which even the US can't match, shit still works. The french health care system, for instance, works well enough that I've heard wealthy ex-pat americans comment extremely favorably about it.

                I suspect that it has to do with the top levels of french government being so busy ranting against the unwashed masses and writing insane and regularly ignored legislation it leaves local counties in france to deal with their shit with a minimum of interference.

                It's not all roses of course. French labor laws are at a point where international brokers regularly advise investors not to build or open factories in france.

                Anyone with knowledge on how a corporation downsizes in the US, the UK or the nordics might want to google keywords like "tea", "unilever", "labor dispute" and "fralib", then read in rising astonishment.

                You could argue that the most powerful entity in france isn't government - but the farmers. The Godfather could take lessons.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 5:36pm

    When will history repeat?

    I don't understand. How will this maneuver help the French government toward their inevitable surrender? Won't this prolong the interim agony?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 9 Sep 2020 @ 5:51pm

    But it's soo easy!

    Because they have such outrageous accents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 6:02pm

    Here's a thought: Maybe the problem isn't the public...

    If French citizens are physically attacking mayors 300+ times a year, there's something more going on that just a little bit of assholishness that's gotten out of hand.

    Well you know how the saying goes, if you meet an asshole during your day, you met an asshole, but if all you meet are assholes you must be a mayor in france.

    If people are regularly assaulting french mayors maybe, just maybe, there's a reason that people are so pissed off, one that might end up getting even worse if said mayors are given special treatment such that people can no longer even insult them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:02pm

    A Modest Proposal For Preventing the Mayors of French Villages from being a Burthen to their constituents or country, and For making them Beneficial to the Oeconomy:

    And a New E-Sport that's sweeping the communes and departments of the Fifth Kleptocracy: Attack-A-Mayor!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 12:44am

    To Madame Anne Hidalgo:

    I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal-food-trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 12:48am

    Oh, hey, if Lese Majeste didn't work, let's kick it up one notch

    "Any insult targeted at a French mayor will now be treated as contempt - an offence that carries a maximum penalty of community service or a €7,500 fine - France's justice minister has announced."

    Even in the bad old days of the middle ages lése majesté didn't go as far as targeting insults levied at the town mayor.
    France has always prided itself in it's unrelenting state of hostility between government and citizenry - but this is just taking it to the next level.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2020 @ 3:26am

      Re: Oh, hey, if Lese Majeste didn't work, let's kick it up one n

      Actually I think France has a brilliant idea, they just got it a bit backwards.
      A law that made any government official insulting an ordinary citizen (one not employed by the government) to be 'contempt' would probably be a decent idea (relatively... finding our way to a sane world is probably impossible now). So if they just invert their language then they will have implemented their idea correctly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 4:48am

        Re: Re: Oh, hey, if Lese Majeste didn't work, let's kick it up o

        "A law that made any government official insulting an ordinary citizen (one not employed by the government) to be 'contempt' would probably be a decent idea..."

        I'm not sure that's feasible, even in theory. Since western governments persistently and incessantly insult their own citizenry every time a politician opens his/her mouth, in the US alone the government owes every individual citizen around five times their national GNP in fines just for the last four years. In select cases significantly more.

        I don't think there are enough digits in numbers to properly calculate the amount France would have to pay its citizenry for the time since Napoleon.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 5:41am

          Re: Re: Re: Oh, hey, if Lese Majeste didn't work, let's kick it

          "I'm not sure that's feasible, even in theory."

          It's all fun and games until you try to define things like "insult". Take any popularly divisive issue, and you what do you do without insulting a lot of people?

          For example, gay marriage. If you support it then you might be, by default, insulting a lot of religious people. Oppose it, and you're opposing equal rights for gay people, which the LGBT population will find insulting. Immigration? Anything less than kicking people of North African descent might be seen as an insult by the far right, but 3rd generation French citizens of Moroccan immigrants will find that them being treated as invaders is highly insulting. And so on...

          It's an idea that sounds nice and fluffy in theory, but is impossible to implement in the real world.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 1:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, hey, if Lese Majeste didn't work, let's kick

            "It's all fun and games until you try to define things like "insult". Take any popularly divisive issue, and you what do you do without insulting a lot of people?"

            That's my point. Your following examples are the low-hanging fruit though. I'm sure I can find hundreds of people who'd find a youtube video showing how to crochet in pink yarn deeply and personally offensive for...reasons.

            The deeply religious, politically zealous and the insane - saying it thrice might be redundant - in particular have a hard time here, with most of reality filtered through their whitelist of "what is not explicitly approved should be expressly forbidden".

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 1:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, hey, if Lese Majeste didn't work, let's

              "That's my point. Your following examples are the low-hanging fruit though I'm sure I can find hundreds of people who'd find a youtube video showing how to crochet in pink yarn deeply and personally offensive for...reasons."

              True, but as a politician you can sidestep the pink yarn issue by not bringing it up, as it's otherwise not relevant to the job at hand.

              My point is that with the kinds of fundamental issues I'm talking about, someone is guaranteed to be offended no matter what you do (and some groups will also be offended if you do nothing). Governing on those issues involves choosing which section of the population to offend, and there's no chance of nobody being offended. So, while the suggestion above might seem nice to the AC who said it, there's no place in for it reality.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 3:39am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, hey, if Lese Majeste didn't work, le

                "True, but as a politician you can sidestep the pink yarn issue by not bringing it up, as it's otherwise not relevant to the job at hand."

                ...unless a very loud representative of certain views drags his/her hatred of pink yarn and crochet into the public debate at which point the pundits and memesmiths take over and after a quick viral burst "pink yarn" is suddenly the talking point of gormless politicians without a single clue what "yarn" is but it showed up in their quick search of "most googled topics" so it must be a vote-winner.

                We've seen it before. David Nune's Cow has made sure cattle are an inflammatory topic when talking to republican politicians these days. TikTok? Ugh...

                "...while the suggestion above might seem nice to the AC who said it, there's no place in for it reality."

                I think and hope he just forgot an /s.

                Because now I think about it, his suggestion loooks awfully like the pro-SLAPP argument.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 5:49am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, hey, if Lese Majeste didn't work

                  "David Nune's Cow has made sure cattle are an inflammatory topic when talking to republican politicians these days"

                  Devin Nunes' cow seems like something of a uniquely American kind of issue that wouldn't really get much traction in France, but I could be wrong. It strikes me as the kind of issue where only someone from a culture where a lawsuit is seen as a first strike move would happen.

                  But, I think my point stands. You don't have to imagine wild scenarios where something irrelevant gets to be pushed to the national stage. You only have to look at divisive issues that are already extremely important.

                  "I think and hope he just forgot an /s."

                  It seems to be the kind of suggestion that sounds good at first glance, but gets to be really, really bad when you look into it deeper. This is why populism is a disaster - if you only go with what looks/feels right in the moment, you cause a lot of issues later on.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Sep 2020 @ 1:39am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, hey, if Lese Majeste didn't

                    "It strikes me as the kind of issue where only someone from a culture where a lawsuit is seen as a first strike move would happen."

                    True enough. The US is unique in the way the lawsuit has become the be-all, end-all of any grievance. With profit motive added, also a frequently used tool for grifters. Being thin-skinned in the US can be very profitable.

                    France, though, is different. The french citizenry and their government have been at a skirmish-level war since Louis the XIVth and unlike many other nations never actually managed to build a government by the people, for the people. Instead they got Robespierre, The Directory, and Napoleon. And that's the foundation of government-citizen relationship the french have built their current body politic on.

                    "You only have to look at divisive issues that are already extremely important."

                    Many of whom have their origins in issues about as trite, pointless and essentially unimportant as the concept of pink yarn crochet. The MAGA hat is just a red baseball cap. The swastika just a thousand year old sun symbol. That's not saying pink yarn and crochet compare to bigotry and genocide, just that once you've got enough headwind to push the trivial into the public eye, anything can become a focal point for something bigger, like avalanches accreting around a single snowball. Or embed itself with a larger issue the way the old hand gesture of "OK" is now a white power symbol.

                    "It seems to be the kind of suggestion that sounds good at first glance, but gets to be really, really bad when you look into it deeper."

                    Like the old "Why not just outlaw 'Evil'?" which sadly, to more than a few, holds visceral temptation since everyone surely knows what 'evil' is, and can define it well in a few well-chosen lines of text sure never to be ambiguously interpreted...

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Simon Jester (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 2:01am

    Would Not a Fool by Any Name Be as Foolish?

    When calling a fool "a fool" becomes illegal, then the law too becomes a fool. Wait, was that a knock at my door?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 2:42am

    History, anyone?

    Doesn't France have a particularly notorious precedent for what happens when those in power become a bit too uppity?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 8:18am

      Re: History, anyone?

      "Doesn't France have a particularly notorious precedent for what happens when those in power become a bit too uppity?"

      Yes, but it usually goes on for a while before it hits the treshold. Censorship and lése majesté laws are as ubiquitous a part of french history as the citizenry's utter disregard for those same laws. There are stories about parisian newspapers publishing an issue, get closed down due to censorship laws, then reopen the next day under a new name and publish the next issue only to get closed down again. Rinse and repeat.

      France is weird that way. Government politicians regularly issue outright insane and megalomaniacal proclamations and pass bills of utter tyranny...and the citizens just frown, go "mérde", and bypass, circumvent or ignore the latest idiocy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2020 @ 3:24am

    free speech limitations converging

    Well, this is about solving the content moderation issue from the other way - simply ban by law every speech, everywhere, which is offensive for anyone. It would make the internet so boring, that content moderation and marketing would coincide, and voilà!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 6:06am

    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan just called... says he now like France better than Germany.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2020 @ 8:03am

    It's all fun and games until you try to define things like "insult".

    Like the Englishman who was fined for calling a duchess a "pig". "So," he asked the judge, "I can't call a duchess a pig?"

    "No, that's against the law."

    "But can I call a pig a duchess?"

    "Of course."

    Turning to the duchess, he said, "Good afternoon, duchess."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2020 @ 9:38am

    All we need now is a list of french mayors (found it: http://www.citymayors.com/mayors/french-mayors.html),
    an online insult generator (http://robietherobot.com/insult-generator.htm) and people willing to piss off the french government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2020 @ 10:03am

    Contempt is illegal in France?

    How the hell is the whole country not in jail then? Contempt is their national hobby.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2020 @ 10:52am

    Why did we vote in a corrupt, dog-molesting paedophile with a tiny dick?

    French Mayor: that resembles me! I'm going to fine you!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2020 @ 2:18pm

    I don't know if it is a surprise for anyone reading here... but Italy has a very similar law, since... well... forever?
    https://www.brocardi.it/codice-penale/libro-secondo/titolo-ii/capo-ii/art341bis.html
    " whoever, in a public space (or open to public), in the presence of people, offends the honor and the prestige of a public servant while he is fulfilling an official duty... is punished with 6 months to 3 years in jail". Insulting cops falls directly under this article in Italy. If the insults are directed to the President of the Republic, the Army, and some other high officials, there is a separate article of the criminal code for them (Vilipendio delle istituzioni), which carries only a fine but no jail time. I don't know if the same exists in other EU states, but I would not be surprised.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2020 @ 3:36am

    The ECHR had something to say about burning the King of Spain's photos in a demonstration. Mostly, that it was a big no-no.

    https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng-press#{%22itemid%22:[%22003-6029528-7740574%22]}

    I guess that cases will be brought before that same court too, if the law passes the Constitutional check in France.

    Not sure if it will be ruled proportional to fine (with quite a hefty fine, let me say) someone just because he insulted a mayor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 5:44am

      Re:

      Spain's a little bit of a weird unique situation. When Franco was in power, he did a bunch of things such as banning the monarchy and trying to dismantle the language and culture of regions such as Catalonia and the Basque country. After he died, the monarchy was allowed to return and King Juan Carlos I was a major proponent of installing a proper democracy. Because of that, he was off the table for many years in terms of criticism and a lot of people found it offensive to criticise him, hence the situation you described before it was overturned by the ECHR.

      But, in recent years the king has been disgraced for various personal and financial issues and abdicated the throne to his son, then fled the country. Legally, I'm not sure about how criticism of the current king will be handled, but I think it's clear that a lot of Spanish people aren't as protective of the throne as they were. It's certainly an evolving situation.

      But, in terms of the decision you posted, I think that's right that Spain had to compensate the couple in question. But, locally, there's a massive difference in the way the Spanish would view the situation in 2007 compared to in 2020.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2020 @ 3:25am

        Re: Re:

        Spanish politics are pretty partisan:

        • Does he belong to my party or to my ideas? Then it's fine.
        • Does he belong to an opposite party or against my ideas? To jail with him.

        I know that it's like this in a lot of countries, but Spanish tend to be a bit extreme in some cases. I guess it's in our blood.

        Regarding mayors and authorities, we do have the Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana (AKA Ley Mordaza) that politicians and authorities have used to stiffle criticism.

        So France ain't the only one in it. And this law has been widely criticized (by the UN among others), but it's still there.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2020 @ 3:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Regarding the King, yep, the support isn't as strong as before, and some people, including monarchists, are doubting whether Princess Leonor will get to the throne or not.

          Btw, while Franco abolished monarchy while in power, in the latter years he supported Juan Carlos I to the power.

          What you say about King Juan Carlos I being a proponent of the democracy, I'd take it with a grain of salt, considering what's coming to light. Among other things, there are doubts about his real role in the 1981 Coup d'Etat, for example.

          Nonetheless, there has always been a lot of censorship and cover behind what the Royal House does in Spain, supported by the 2 major parties in the Congress, who have blocked most, if not all, attempts to investigate their activities.

          I'm not sure what's the truth or not, but when you see the Congress systematically covering the Royal asses, it sounds as if there was a lot of shit to be uncovered under that rug.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 12 Sep 2020 @ 7:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I will admit that having only lived in Spain for 15 years, any politics before that is fairly unclear to me. Hell, the man died the year I was born, 30 years before I adopted this country as my home. So, I apologise and defer my opinion if you know deeper information than I have picked up.

            I don't doubt there's skeletons waiting in some closet, but as an Englishman I doubt I have any room to act superior.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 12 Sep 2020 @ 7:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          They are weird, but not yet quite as partisan as US politics, at least because there's more generally viable parties. That's why we've had so many elections in the last few years, if there were only 2 viable parties that wouldn't have happened...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2020 @ 11:59pm

    Swiss right wing tried this too

    The UDC were pushing a law to forcibly evict foreigners who committed crimes in Switzerland. They had a "red card" list of single offences that qualified, and nobody could dispute they were serious. But they also had a list of "yellow card" offences, that if any two of which were committed, would also constitute prima facie evidence for forcible eviction from the country. Therein was the offence of "harrassment of a public official", which includes all public servants down to the local level. Thereby having a charge against you because you have a dispute with your neighbour who happens to be a local public servant and you shouted at them, makes you instantly on the "one more time and you're gone" list.
    Extremely chilling effect.
    The petition was thankfully voted down, but not by much.
    https://ballotpedia.org/Swiss_Foreign_Criminal_Deportation_Referendum,_2010

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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