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Extreme Speech and Democracy$
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Ivan Hare and James Weinstein

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199548781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548781.001.0001

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Hate Speech, Extreme Speech, and Collective Defamation in French Law

Hate Speech, Extreme Speech, and Collective Defamation in French Law

(p.221) 12 Hate Speech, Extreme Speech, and Collective Defamation in French Law
Extreme Speech and Democracy

Pascal Mbongo

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a picture of the French authorities' (Government and judges) interference in the freedom of expression which are justified by the refusal of Hate speech. These interferences appear like mirrors, not only of the French notion of freedom of expression, but also of the relationship that the French state maintains with society. The French notion of freedom of expression has in fact always been relativistic if only because, by constantly establishing a balance between freedom of expression and ‘law and order’, French constitutional texts have never brought about a debate comparable to the American debate relating to the First Amendment's provision that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. As a matter of fact, the constancy of this balance between freedom of expression and ‘law and order’ tells us something about a certain form of ‘paternalism’ that is particularly characteristic of the French state in its relations with society.

Keywords:   hate speech, Penal regulation, administrative regulation, freedom of expression, France, law and order

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