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The author of France’s failed “hate speech” law isn’t giving up

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Laetitia Avia, a member and spokesperson for President Emmanuel Macron’s political grouping (LREM) in the French parliament, doesn’t seem to be letting up in her struggle to legally muzzle and stifle online speech to an even higher degree than what is being done right now in her country.

Avia’s particular interest is to fight what is deemed to be online “hate speech” – and her preferred method is to introduce more stringent control and censorship.

In May this year, the French National Assembly agreed with her by passing a draft law known as “Avia’s Law” – but it soon met with a reaction from a number of the country’s conservative senators, who asked the French Constitutional Council to rule on the legality of the bill.

And in June, the Council said that most of that law was not in fact constitutional. Avia’s effort was described by the Council as attacking freedom of expression in an unnecessary and disproportionate manner, compared to the goal it said it pursued.

The law mandates that social media platforms and search engines must remove any content marked as hate speech within 24 hours, or pay individual fines going up to 1.25 million euros.

France’s Constitutional Council thought that the pain of losing money would have the chilling effect of tech and social media sites “preemptively” censoring content even if it isn’t illegal, simply to avoid losing money.

Checking up on Avia, France’s L’Obs weekly says that this legislator appears to be back in the saddle after her previous effort received this bit of a setback from the Constitutional Council.

In fact, Avia is promising that there will indeed be “a new hate content moderation system” – apparently, one way or another, in the current, or a revised version.

But there’s more than her stumbling intent to introduce even more stringent censorship onto France’s online space that is plaguing this MP.

In mid-May, we reported that Avia – promoting herself as a champion of anti-hate speech – was embroiled in accusations of making sexist, racist and homophobic comments.

The allegations came from Avia’s staff, who went the route of publishing screenshots of private communications, that showed the MP use derogatory language. You might even call it, “hate speech.”

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