French officials have announced that they will shut down an activist-run media outlet and a Muslim website that contradicted “nationwide values,” the latest in a series of actions violating democratic freedoms.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said “Nantes Révoltée,” a local media platform, would be shut down. The platform had published details of a protest in Nantes last weekend in which three people were arrested.
Announcing the plan to shut down Nantes Révoltée to members of French parliament on Tuesday, Darmanin described it as an “extreme left group” that has repeatedly referred to violence against the government and police.
According to French law, prior to the dissolution of an affiliation, the Ministry of the Interior has to inform the organization, which then has 15 days to respond to arguments. To date, Nante Révoltée says it has not received any notice from the Interior Ministry regarding its closure.
Raphael Kempf, a lawyer for Nantes Révoltée, said a website sharing information on an event couldn’t be held accountable for what occurs and authorities are misusing their power to assault voices that criticize them.
In the last two years, there have been 12 such closures, which have increased from seven between 2016 and 2019. Among these 12, seven were Muslim-related associations, one a humanitarian organization, one an anti-Islamophobia team, and three far-right teams.
Earlier this week, Darmanin announced in a televised interview that the Islamic website “La Voie Droite” could be shut down using 2021 laws related to “content material inciting for hatred.”
La Voie Droite denied the allegations in a statement, stating “once we encourage Muslims to respect the texts, it’s against any kind of menace or legitimating of violence.”
On July 2021, the lower house of the French parliament approved a controversial bill targeting religious freedom and stigmatizing Muslims, while tightening rules on the funding of mosques, associations, and non-governmental organizations belonging to Muslims.
The main association in defense of Muslims, the CCIF, was also dissolved.
The bill also targeted Muslim girls under the age of 18 by banning the wearing of hijab in public places.