Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another Slander Case

Yesterday I commented on what I regard as a frivolous slander suit against a man who referred to three journalists as "militant groupies" for Ségolène Royal. Today we have the story of a man who faces a fine of 750 euros for the crime of outrage à personne dépositaire de l'autorité publique," insulting a public official, in this case Nicolas Sarkozy, whom the defendant compared to Pétain. I regard this prosecution as an outrage and an affront to anyone who believes in free speech.

As Rue89 points out, it was Nicolas Sarkozy who said at the time of the Danish cartoon affair: "I prefer excess of caricature to absence of caricature."

The law of outrage is an archaic relic, a translation of the crime of lèse-majesté. But Sarkozy is not un roi thaumaturge, and as he forcefully pointed out to Laurent Joffrin, he is not a monarch at all. He has not two bodies but one, and since it must be shared with Carla Bruni, it cannot qualify as sacred, hence does not deserve the special protection of the law.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the concept of 'outrage' as depicted by lawsuits in France today is just a remnant of the French chivalry that prompted duels?

To my American perspective of civil liberties it's quite infuriating to see examples so pithy like this...

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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