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France Cracks Down On Hate Speech After Charlie Hebdo Attacks

A French soldier patrols on January 14, 2015 in Paris, after France announced an unprecedented deployment of thousands of troops and police to bolster security at 'sensitive' sites following last week's jihadist attacks in Paris. (Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)
A French soldier patrols on January 14, 2015 in Paris, after France announced an unprecedented deployment of thousands of troops and police to bolster security at 'sensitive' sites following last week's jihadist attacks in Paris. (Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

In France today, there is evidence of a renewed crackdown on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism. Fifty-four people have been arrested on those offenses just in the last week, since gunmen in Paris killed a dozen people at the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo.

France, unlike the U.S., has hate speech laws that allow people to be charged for speech that’s deemed insulting on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity or national origin.

But some argue that there is a double standard — that the law seems to be applied differently to those who insult Judaism versus those who insult Islam. And then there is the question of whether the laws, and the crackdown on hate speech, are in direct conflict with the very principals the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo stood for, and died for.

Here & Now’s Robin Young discusses this with Erik Bleich, a political science professor at Middlebury College and author of “The Freedom To Be Racist: How The United States And Europe Struggle To Preserve Freedom And Combat Racism.”

Guest

  • Erik Bleich, political science professor at Middlebury College and author of “The Freedom To Be Racist.” He tweets @ErikBleich1.

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