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IRIS 2018-9:1/15

France

Paris Première warned by CSA following incitement to racial and religious hatred

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Amélie Blocman

Légipresse

Writer and journalist Eric Zemmour, who presents a weekly programme on the television channel Paris Première, continues to create controversy in his television broadcasts, despite several court convictions for inciting religious hatred. On 12 September 2018 the French national audiovisual regulatory authority (Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel - the CSA), which had previously warned the channels Canal Plus and RTL following appearances by the journalist, was asked for its opinion on a sequence broadcast during the programme Zemmour et Naulleau on Paris Première on 20 January 2018, in which the topic of asylum and immigration law had been discussed.

After examining the disputed footage, the CSA noted that one of the programme’s presenters, Eric Zemmour, had systematically used stigmatising language concerning Muslim migrants. In particular, he had suggested that they should be denied the right to asylum on the grounds that, because of their religion (unlike other religions), they were a source “of enormous problems” and would contribute to the “large-scale replacement” of the French population.

The CSA considered that these comments were likely to encourage discrimination and provoke hatred or violence against a specific group of people for religious reasons. They therefore clearly infringed the provisions of the final paragraph of Article 15 of Law no. 86-1067 of 30 September 1986 on freedom of communication, which requires that the CSA “ensure … that programmes made available to the public by an audiovisual communication service do not contain any incitement to hatred or violence for reasons of race, sex, morality, religion or nationality.” The CSA therefore issued a formal notice to Paris Première, requiring it to respect these provisions in future.

A few days after this notice was issued, the person concerned once again sparked huge controversy after claiming in the programme Les Terriens du Dimanche, on which he was a guest, that the first name of the commentator Hapsatou Sy was an “insult to France”. Even though the disputed comments were edited out of the broadcast, the commentator shared them on social networks and launched a petition calling for Zemmour to be banned from appearing on television.

References
Décision du CSA, “Emission « Zemmour et Naulleau » du 20 janvier 2018 : Paris Première mise en demeure, 21 septembre 2018 FR
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=19269
 
  CSA decision, “Emission Zemmour et Naulleau” of 20 January 2018: Paris Première given notice, 21 September 2018