Macron has been acccused of hypocrisy as the French leader first defends Charlie Hebdo angering Muslims around the globe and then shortly after targets an experienced journalist for an unflattering critical story, prompting many to question the genuineness of the French President.
Macron castigated for targeting journalist after promoting press freedom
People took to social media to point out the hypocrisy in the actions of the French leader, completely opposite to the statements he had given just a couple hours earlier.
French President Macron has provoked Muslims worldwide by defending publication of blasphemous cartoons by Charlie Hebdo under the guise of ‘free speech’. Macron refused to condemn the reprinting of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, stating it was not right for a political leader to get involved in editorial matters.
“It’s never the place of a president of the Republic to pass judgment on the editorial choice of a journalist or newsroom, never. Because we have freedom of the press,” he said.
“In the morning, (Macron) proclaims freedom of press and the ‘right to blaspheme’ and in the afternoon he yells in public like a rotten fish at a journalist, who had done his job well,” said one of Malbrunot’s supporters.
Another supporter said that the French president cannot tolerate journalists writing “truths that he does not like”.
Many Lebanese people lauded his criticism of the political class, who they hold responsible for the disaster due to their corruption and governmental neglect.
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A month later, Macron has been dealing with the very same politicians in an attempt to establish a new government in the coastal Mediterranean state. This has led many to believe that the French leader is acting with aims of publicity rather than the Lebanese people.
French President Emmanuel Macron verbally attacks a journalist who exposed his secret meeting with a Hezbollah leader during Lebanon visit pic.twitter.com/JnCTIXMN1S— TRT World (@trtworld) September 2, 2020
Press and Media Freedom
Louati, head of CJL (Committee for Justice and Liberty) a whistle blower who has long fought against racism and police brutality in France, said he himself had faced ‘judicial harassment’ over his activities.
“Macron’s outburst towards George Malbrunot is the umpteenth sign of hypocrisy with regard to the former,” Louati said, adding:
“He can support Charlie Hebdo when it publishes racist cartoons against ethnic minorities like Muslims and immigrants, he can support the likes of Eric Zemmour (a far-right columnist), he can give a special interview to a far right magazine like Valeurs Actuelles, but he is offended when journalists publish news he wants to conceal or analysis he disagrees with.”
Macron’s response to media scrutiny of the event was to accuse them of not wanting to “seek the truth”.
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Louati also described further incidents, such as the intimidation by French intelligence agents of journalists who revealed the use of French weapons against civilians in Yemen.
Free Speech and Press Freedom in France
For France, this is not the first anti-press incident that has taken place. Under Macron and his predecessors, the French government has clamped down violently against opposition protesters and imposed sometimes arbitrary restrictions of free speech.
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France also has a track record of criminalising pro-Palestinian activism. In January 2020, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the conviction of 12 BDS activists violated their right of free expression.
The court ordered French authorities to pay the activists more than 27,000 euros in compensation each and warned that the country could not limit speech that did not incite violence, hatred, or intolerance.
GVS News Desk with additional input by other sources