France Censors Conservatives, Too

French authorities are facing backlash after allegedly re-establishing so-called preventive censorship, with critics asserting that the country is stifling conservative voices.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin ordered a ban on all so-called “far-right” or “ultra-right” events earlier this month, which critics suggest is tantamount to censorship.

Paris authorities, in response to Darmanin’s request, banned six such gatherings last weekend, including a symposium by the Iliade Institute.

The symposium aimed to honor the memory of historian Dominique Venner, who famously protested “against poisons of the soul and the desires of invasive individuals to destroy the anchors of our identity, including the family, the intimate basis of our multi-millennial civilization.”

A striking example of the perceived censorship is the late notification received by the organizers of the Iliade Institute’s symposium.

The organizers were informed less than 24 hours prior, leaving them without sufficient time to appeal the decision.

When attendees arrived at the venue, they found their entry barred by a police cordon.

Paris police prefect, Laurent Nuñez, justified the ban citing the risk of statements that could incite hatred and discrimination, which could undermine “national cohesion and the principles enshrined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.”

The ban, critics argue, is preventive censorship, as nothing had been said or done by the Iliade Institute or any participant, yet the event was canceled due to a potential threat.

This form of censorship was outlawed in France in 1881 and has only been reinstated during wartime.

A precedent, however, was set in 2014 when France’s top administrative court approved a ban against a show by a French comic who had previously been convicted of inciting racial hatred.

Institute Iliade’s director, Jean-Yves Le Gallou, criticized the move as reflective of a wider political tendency: “The government is weakened by its policies that go contrary to the aspirations of the French… and the limitation of private property in relation to the development of wind power.”

He argues that the authorities are resorting to “massive propaganda and censorship.”

Meanwhile, most Americans believe social media platforms censor political viewpoints.

“Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to say major tech companies favor the views of liberals over conservatives,” according to Pew Research.

Roughly three-quarters of U.S. adults say social media censorship is very (37%) or somewhat (36%) likely that social media sites intentionally censor political viewpoints that they find objectionable, while only 25% believe this is not likely the case.

Sixty-nine percent of Republicans and Republican leaners “say major technology companies generally support the views of liberals over conservatives, compared with 25% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.”

“Increasingly we see the tag ‘misinformation’ or ‘disinformation’ given to content that the liberal mainstream media simply disagrees with or goes against their chosen narrative,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) explained in a Feb 2022 memo. “Finding and seeking the truth should not be about silencing voices but allowing robust discourse.”