Thursday, August 30, 2018

Is it true that there’s no freedom of speech in France?

Alexander Boot recounts how he got censored in France:
When we met in Paris, [a charming French journalist] said she was envious of Britain, where it was still possible to express conservative views in all media.

The left, she said, had such tight control of the papers, broadcast media and publishing that many conservative books published by les Anglo-Saxons would never see the light of day in France.

As an example, she pointed at her heavily thumbed and bookmarked copy of my Democracy as a Neocon Trick, which she said was brilliant even though she disagreed with some of the points I made. The book, she lamented, ought to be widely read in France, but it would never be published.

 … Since my lovely and intelligent interviewer sounded like a run-of-the-mill British or American conservative, with a slight neo- tilt, I assumed that Radio Courtoisie was roughly in the same political band.

Anyway, the interview was recorded at the end of May and was scheduled to run today at midday, French time, and then again at midnight. I promptly told all my French friends about it, ordering them to listen on pain of death.

They all promised to do so, what with the fierce expression on my face. But, they said, they were surprised that Radio Courtoisie, which they described as ‘extreme right-wing’ and ‘pro-Poutine‘, would run my interview on that subject.

Knowing that I too am extreme right-wing to them, I was surprised. It’s all that political taxonomy, which in France is even more confused than here.

 … Late last night, my interviewer sent me an e-mail specifying the broadcast slots, and I was about to forward it to all and sundry in France. But then, seconds later, another e-mail arrived:
“I’ve just had a phone call from the Radio Courtoisie director and editor-in-chief … She has decided to cancel the broadcast because it ‘contains violent libellous accusations against Putin that could draw the ire of the Russian embassy’.”
Now this isn’t the first time I’ve been censored, but never for that reason.

For ‘violent’ though my accusations against Putin might have been, they certainly weren’t libellous – for the simple reason that they were all true.

 … So I suppose my interviewer was right when saying there’s no freedom of speech in France. I should have listened more attentively.
Read the whole thing™.

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