Wednesday, November 25, 2020

“Indispensable to allow democracy to prosper, freedom of expression, misled and manipulated, can also undermine it”

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Chronic. Chance of the calendar – or not – the United States announced, Monday, October 19, the indictment of six Russian military intelligence officers in several cases of hacking abroad, including that of thousands of emails stolen in computers from Emmanuel Macron’s election campaign, the “MacronLeaks,” in 2017. The same Russian team, Washington said, was behind the Hillary Clinton staff email hack, which severely disrupted the end of the campaign. the Democratic candidate’s campaign against Donald Trump in 2016.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also “MacronLeaks”: American justice launches proceedings against six hackers from Russian intelligence services

It turns out that the media in both countries handled these two attacks in the midst of electoral fever very differently; a long survey on freedom of expression published on October 13 by the New York Times Magazine, “The First Amendment in the age of disinformation”, underlines, precisely, this difference. While the American press had fed, for days on end, on the content of pirated emails, The world, to name one, had preferred not to touch it before the election, considering that this maneuver aimed to “Undermine the sincerity of the ballot”.

It also happens that this article of New York Times Magazine echoes several academic works that raise the question of the adequacy of the principle enshrined in the first amendment to the Constitution, that of freedom of speech, at the present time, marked by the deliberate dissemination of false news to the at the highest level, orchestrating large-scale disinformation campaigns through social media and the power of private money over public discourse. “It is time to ask ourselves if the American mode of protecting freedom of expression really secures our freedom”, asks journalist Emily Bazelon.

Finally, it turns out that, the day after the assassination of Samuel Paty, beheaded on October 16 for showing his students caricatures of Muhammad, some American intellectuals bitterly noted that at a time when, in France, we called more than never in defense of freedom of expression, especially in The world, in reaction to the conflict in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in the United States, doubt is mounting on the advisability of an absolute right to freedom of speech. Others on the contrary, as at the time of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, do not hide their incomprehension of what they perceive as a French relentlessness to publish caricatures likely to offend the sensibilities of Muslims.

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