Since Friday and the attack on Professor Samuel Paty, the Sages have been under fire from critics for having censored the Avia law on online hate. Secretary General of the Constitutional Council from 1997 to 2007, Jean-Eric Schoettl regrets the decision of his former house.
L’Express: The Constitutional Council is criticized for having censored the Avia law on online hatred and deprived the State of a tool to fight against appeals such as those which led to the death of Samuel Paty. Do you understand it?
Jean-Eric Schoettl: I hesitated a lot at the time of the Avia law. Was freedom of expression in danger because there was a risk of “convenience self-censorship” on the part of operators? Some, including the Constitutional Council, believed that the latter would remove the content as soon as it was entered for lack of time to verify it. The risk seemed quite low to me. The Avia law provided for numerous safeguards against abusive reporting. For example, it introduced a criminalization of these practices and severe prison sentences for those who improperly report content. However, the Constitutional Council has not said a word about these safeguards. In his decision, he believes that operators will be tempted by self-censorship. He then adopts a psychologizing reasoning, he assumes the behavior of the operators. However, it is not the role of the Constitutional Council to do predictive psychology.
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