List of Relevant Laws Impacting Free Speech (France) (2015-2022)
Laws on the state of emergency or national security are not mentioned here as they are not directly related to freedom of expression. Nonetheless, their impact the right of association and the right to protest contributes to a shrinking of the civic space and a general trend to restrict freedom of expression.
- Article 27 of the 1881 Law on Freedom of the Press: punishes the production or dissemination, made in bad faith, of fake information that is of a nature to trouble peace and public order (very rarely applied).
- Article L163-2 of the Electoral Code (Law 2018-1202 on the fight against manipulation of information): during a 3-month period ahead of general elections, a tribunal can decide through a summary procedure to end the circulation of massively-disseminated disinformation that can disrupt the electoral processes (rarely applied so far).
The regulation of online content
Law on trust in the digital economy (modified by the 2021 law on reinforcing respect for the principles of the Republic): lists the categories of prohibited content and enumerates the obligations of online platforms.
Denial of crimes against humanity
Art. 24bis of the 1881 Law on Freedom of the Press punishes the fact of denying the existence of a crime against humanity, and the fact of denying or minimising a crime of genocide.
Incitement to discrimination
Art. 24 of the 1881 Law on Freedom of the Press punishes incitement to hatred and discrimination.
Defamation and insult
Art. 29 of the 1881 Law on Freedom of the Press punishes public defamation. There have been cases of SLAPPs against investigative journalists during the period under review.
Art. 31 of the same law punishes public defamation of representatives of the public authorities.
Offense to public authorities
Art. 27 and 33 of the 1881 Law on Freedom of the Press punish the fact of insulting the President of the Republic or representatives of the public authorities.
Apology of terrorism
Art. 421-2-5 of the Penal Code: punishes incitement to acts of terrorism and the apology of such acts.
Pornography involving minors
Art. 227-23 of the Penal Code: punishes the production or dissemination of pornography that involves minors