A French journalist, Ivan Rioufol (right), is facing a criminal trial under the country’s strict press laws for remarks made during a radio debate about the influence of Islam. Mr. Rioufol particularly objected to a CCIF poster campaign which showed pictures of predominantly bearded and veiled Muslims under the slogan ‘We are the Nation, too.’
UK Daily Mail The journalist said that this was against the spirit of France’s inclusive, secular republic – something which CCIF objected to.
Mr Rioufol said that France’s 1881 Press Law was being used to ‘penalise criticism, intimidate journalists, censor the media’ and even ‘to reintroduce the offense of blasphemy’.
Ivan Rioufol, 61, believes the way he is being treated is an example of how writers are criminalised when the state is able to control the media.
He was summoned to court under strict press laws which date back to the 19th Century following a complaint from a pressure group called the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF).
‘In seeking to undermine liberty of expression, a sacred principle of our civilisation, the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) takes the risk of appearing like a menace to democracy,’ said Mr Rioufol.
Mr Rioufol, who has written for Le Figaro newspaper for almost 28 years, made some allegedly defamatory remarks on November 15th 2012 during an RTL radio programme called ‘We Reshape the World.’
The 1881 law was nominally meant to guarantee the ‘freedom of the press’ but in fact criminalised a range of journalistic behaviour. So called ‘press offenses’ ranged from insulting the President of France, to defaming private citizens through comment.