Ovi -
we cover every issue
worldwide creative inspiration  
Ovi Bookshop - Free Ebook
Stop human trafficking
Ovi Language
Michael R. Czinkota: As I See It...
The Breast Cancer Site
Tony Zuvela - Cartoons, Illustrations
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
BBC News :   - 
iBite :   - 
Racism and anti-Semitism in the French media Racism and anti-Semitism in the French media
by Joseph Gatt
2007-09-26 09:39:11
Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author
DeliciousRedditFacebookDigg! StumbleUpon

From politicians to thinkers, entertainers to journalists, the French media allows people to express racist views publicly. And people who expressed racist views are still in the media circles, without ever publicly excusing themselves.

“Japanese people work like ants” and “British people are all gay” - these words were not said by a regular racist person in France, but by its then Prime Minister, Edith Cresson, on television. Though those words caused outrage in Japan and the United Kingdom, Cresson was not punished for publicly saying those words. At the highest level of French politics, people allow themselves to issue such disturbing comments. And Cresson is not the only one.

Famous sports commentator Thierry Rolland, who has commentated sports since the late 1950s, has issued on air, often live, similar despicable comments. During the England-Argentina match in 1986, he said, “Honestly, don’t you think that there could be something else than a Tunisian referee for a game of this importance?” During the France-Korea match in 2002, he said, “There is nothing that looks more like a Korean than another Korean, add to that the fact that they all measure 1m70.” Rolland is still a commentator on French television, despite repeatedly issuing racist comments.

Speaking of Koreans, in a sequence of the famous French movie Taxi, Sami Naceri tells Frederic Diefenthal, “Go make the difference between a Korean and a Korean.” Though it has been rather silenced, the Asian community is among the biggest victims of racism in France.

Thinkers also often publicly issue racist comments. Philosopher Alain Soral once said about Jews, “Zionist Judaism locks you up into mental illness.” Soral also publicly stated homophobic and misogynic comments in the newspapers, his books and on television. Another thinker, Alain Finkielkraut, said about the French 2005 riots, “The problem most of these young people (those taking part in the riots) are Blacks and Arabs with a Muslim identity.” Both thinkers are still considered among the most prolific thinkers in French society.

The National Front, France’s far-right party, is still eligible to run for elections despite the fact that its leaders repeatedly issued controversial comments regarding the Holocaust. Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the National Front, called the gas chambers, “A detail in the history of World War II.” MEP Bruno Gollnisch, affiliated to the National Front, was banned from teaching in a Lyon university for publicly denying the Holocaust. He was also trialed and convicted. Yet, he is still on the French political scene.

Actor and stand-up comic Dieudonné and talk show host Marc-Olivier Fogiel were both trialed and convicted for racist comments. Dieudonné had stated that, “Zionist authorities, with public resources, confiscate cultural creation and have declared a war to the Black world.” Fogiel had been involved in a controversy when during his show a fake text message written by his team had been on air asking Dieudonné: Would it make you laugh if we did a sketch comedy about Black people’s smell? Both still regularly appear on television, though Fogiel did publicly apologize for his comments.

Racism should be banned from the media in France, and those issuing such comments should not make further appearances on the media. Justice should also be more intolerant to those messages. Is the European Court of Human rights doing anything about this situation? Will more people be allowed to freely express their racist thoughts publicly in France?

Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author

Get it off your chest
 (comments policy)

Emanuel Paparella2007-09-26 15:16:20
Indeed, the Enlightenment has still to enlighten itself but it will not do so because it doubts of everything except one thing: its own cleverness and enlightenment worshipped as an idol of sort. To become more aware of that French paradox adopted by cohorts of Europeans who equate it with post-modernity and progress, just ask the average secular French who considers religion per se passé, the equivalent of obscurantism and superstition, what is his opinion of Voltaire’s play “Fanaticism, of Mahomet the prophet.” Anyone who is knowledgeable of modern European culture from Descartes to today, can easily predict the “enlightened” answer, just as one could have easily predicted in the 18th century that Voltaire would end up cursing his nemesis Dante on his death bed. Having done that “enlightened” act, he passed into the light and perhaps realized that the light he was so proud of all his life was like that given by a candle in a hut at night; it all but vanishes when the sun comes up. Dante’s comedy in fact begins at night in a dark wood just before the sun come up and ends with this verse: “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.”

Jack2007-09-27 01:34:33
I believe journalists do a poor job of report at times. Results of lazy work (i.e. not calling or visiting sources but going by what another person said)in their columns. Newsprint and multi-media news sources often resemble the Editorial Section than objective reporting. Many times on Fox, CNN, etc. you can hear that tiny, little comment or sound by the reporter, at the very end of the story. Like: "The Senator has announced he is resigning. Hmmmmm." [that is very unprofessional but it happens all to often].

© Copyright CHAMELEON PROJECT Tmi 2005-2008  -  Sitemap  -  Add to favourites  -  Link to Ovi
Privacy Policy  -  Contact  -  RSS Feeds  -  Search  -  Submissions  -  Subscribe  -  About Ovi