The return of the Avia law. Censored in large part by the Constitutional Council last June, this text aimed at combating hatred on the Internet, tabled and supported by LREM deputy Laetitia Avia, is cited as an example by the government and the majority after the attack that cost life to Samuel Paty. Gérald Darmanin even believes that he could have put an end to the broadcasting of the video of a father targeting the history and geography professor of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines), assassinated on Friday afternoon. Not that easy.
What Gérald Darmanin said
On several occasions since this weekend, the Minister of the Interior has indicated that “Madame Avia’s bill would have made it possible to withdraw [la vidéo] and to pursue this father ”, in his precise words this Monday morning on Europe 1.
What exactly the father said
The video to which Gérald Darmanin refers, lasting just over two minutes, was published a few days after the course on freedom of expression during which Samuel Paty presented his students with caricatures of Muhammad. We hear the father of a schoolgirl from the same establishment telling that his daughter “was shocked following the behavior of her teacher, or rather this thug, as we should call him, supposed to teach them history and geography” .
“That all those who do not agree with this behavior, that all those who have encountered difficulties, that all those whose children have been sent back, like my daughter, on false grounds, because she refused to leave the class when he asked him for these reasons, that all those who want that together, we say: stop, do not touch our children, contact me ”, he adds, with a tone annoyed but rather calm and giving his phone number.
Finally, using the term “thug” a second time, he judges that “this thug should no longer stay in National Education. He must no longer educate children, he must go and educate himself ”. The words are strong, but there is no call for violence.
What the Avia law provided for
In its repressive part, this text set in particular for Internet platforms a 24-hour period to remove any “manifestly illegal” content, as written in The law project. Among the offenses selected were, in particular, incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence on the grounds of race or religion, insult on the grounds of race, religion, sex or religion, or even sexual harassment.
But the Constitutional Council censored it on June 18, judging in particular that the 24-hour deadline set for social networks was too short. What “could encourage the operators of online platform to withdraw the contents which are announced to them, that they are or not manifestly illicit”, one reads one in the decision of the Sages. In other words, it would “undermine the exercise of freedom of expression and communication which is not necessary, appropriate and proportionate”.
“Thug”, a reprimanded insult?
So, could qualifying a person as a “thug” have fallen within the scope of this Avia law as it had been voted by Parliament before the censorship of the Constitutional Council? Probably not, according to several experts interviewed by Le Parisien. “It is insulting to the professor but there is no racial aspect and it is not hateful content”, underlines first the lawyer Anthony Bem, specialist in digital.
“The word ‘manifestly’ means that the content is patently illegal. I really do not think that the expression ‘thug’, in current use, is sufficiently explicit to justify deleting the message, ”adds Marc Rees, editor-in-chief of the Nextimpact.com site. He also takes as proof the fact that the inspection of the Academy of Versailles had recommended to Samuel Paty to file a complaint for defamation, and not for insult. “However, defamation is not one of the offenses concerned by the Avia law”, supports Marc Rees.
“In this message, the student’s father [ qui fait partie des personnes en garde à vue après l’attentat pour son implication supposée, NDLR] not only calls Samuel Paty a thug, he also calls on everyone who shares his opinion to join him. This is not a call to brotherhood, ”nuance Eric Morain, criminal lawyer and specialist in online harassment issues. Everything would ultimately have rested on the assessment of the magistrate seized.
A problem that goes beyond the removal of this video
Even if a judge ordered the removal of the video, Facebook would have had 24 hours to do so. However, these images, or at least some of its extracts, were very quickly shared and commented on with a tone that was sometimes much more violent. “We are trying to find a scapegoat with social networks but the Avia law would have had no hold on them. This would be forgetting the viral nature of this kind of talk: in these ultra-connected communities, this video would have been massively copied and shared in the meantime, ”points out Eric Morain.
“We must not be mistaken in the debate with this video of the student’s father: we learned that the same Twitter account [que celui ayant revendiqué l’assassinat de Samuel Paty, NDLR] had been used in August to publish the images of a false decapitation ”, continues the lawyer. These could moreover certainly have been qualified as “manifestly unlawful”.
Laetitia Avia herself was not mistaken in indicating to the Parisian, Sunday evening, that “the messages of cyberviolence and the attacks on a religious basis could have been better moderated and withdrawn”. Without being based on the only video of the father of the family, therefore. “She probably knows her text better than Gerald Darmanin,” smiles Marc Rees.
VIDEO. Conflans attack: the killer asked college students to identify the professor
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr