Friday, March 13, 2009

"Injure publique"

Nadine Morano is suing Daily Motion to obtain the IP addresses of Internet users whom she deems to have defamed her: injure publique is the legal term. I don't know what the alleged insults were, but this is incredible. It seems to me that if you accept a ministerial post in a democratic regime, you accept the possibility of being subjected to "public insult," no matter how unjust, uncivil, offensive, or even lewd. It goes with the territory. To invoke the force of law against your detractors is to attempt to silence public debate. The Sedition Act is one of the more infamous moments in American history: "The Sedition Act (officially An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States) made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its officials. Enacted July 14, 1798, with an expiration date of March 3, 1801." The government repeated the mistake during World War I. Mme Morano may not regard her legal action as having anything to do with the suppression of free speech, but she should. This is a terrible precedent. The courts should throw out her suit.

5 comments:

Jean Granville said...

Meet the French political class' new generation. Relatively young people, ambitious, cynical and ignorant. Not that their predecessors are much better though.
Anyway, this is the stuff French political parties are made of, both right and left.

FrédéricLN said...

Oh - that's the moment when I will not agree with you, Mr Goldhammer. Well, were I Americain, I would agree, but on this very point, the French meaning of democracy is different. Indeed, in our perception of "freedom of expression", we consider that freedom ends where the other person's rights do begin, and public insult does harm the other person's dignity.

So, insulting someone with publicity (for example on the internet) is forbidden by law - and we would not consider accepting a ministerial post might reduce in any way your rights as a person and a citizen.

Let's highlight it : as opposed to the Sedition Act, the French law does not grant any specific protection to governement officials. But they deserve the same legal protection as all other citizens.

Well - we did have an old piece of law protecting Head of States, but we do not any more, http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offense_au_chef_de_l'État

Best regards

bernard said...

what is truly incredible is that this person would obtain a ministerial post in the 21st century.

Leo said...

Once again, I will second Bernard's motion but will add that she just copies her Master, who in the course of less than 2 years has filed more suits than all his 5th Republic predecessors combined.
The last one was against an opponent displaying a "Cass toi pauv' con" placard.

I would also add that just under the box where I am typing, Blogger si displaying the word "CHIES" for me to enter as verification.
Like if it knew to what level the political discourse has sunk in my country.

MYOS said...

I second Art and Bernard on this: It is not only a terrible precedent, but also a dangerous one. If individuals' IP can be given to the government because someone wrote offensive comments under s dailymotion video, it means free speech is no longer protected and anyone can be tracked and spied on.