Paris, 9 January, 2015 —Without even waiting for the end of investigations on the despicable attack against Charlie Hebdo on January 7th, the French government is set on increasing the counter-terrorist arsenal, first by notifying Brussels the decree implementing “terrorists” or child pornography websites blockade but also by announcing new counter-terrorism measures. La Quadrature du Net calls on citizens to reject this absurd escalation and to show determination in defending freedom of expression and information.
The attack against Charlie Hebdo’s team is a terrible reminder that freedom of speech is a value that must be defended as a foundation for our democracy. The victims of the attack, journalists, policemen or visitors gave their lives for what is no only a symbol but the first of civil rights in a democracy.
The great popular emotion that sparked spontaneously in favor of freedom of speech and in memory of the victims is a sign of hope which shows the ability of French citizens (and of the whole world) to defend these values we hold dear: freedom of speech, freedom of information, respect of the rule of law and the democratic ideal.
This is why La Quadrature du Net warns solemnly the French government led by Prime Minister Manuel Valls against any attempt of political recovery of this terrible event by the establishment of new emergency laws. Since 1986, every terrorist act has been followed by a counter-terrorism law, which always lead to undermine fundamental freedoms under the pretext of more security. Today, the last counter-terrorism law adopted in November 2014 has not even been implemented, but the government is already announced new measures, without taking the time to assess the efficiency of current provisions.
In the aftermath of the attack against Charlie Hebdo, the French government notified the European Commission of the imminent publication of the decrees implementing the LOPPSI law, allowing the administrative blockade (without the intervention of a judge) of websites advocating or provoking terrorism. Against all the informed analysis pointing to the ineffectiveness of such censorship measures and their impact on fundamental rights, and without any clear link between this week’s attack and online communications, the government answers to an attack on civil rights with new restrictions of freedom of expression and the rule of law. This is a bad tribute to pay to those who have given their lives for freedom of speech.
La Quadrature du Net calls on the European Commission to proceed with its assessment of the harmful consequences of this decree on website blocking. We also urge the French government to abandon new legislations restricting civil rights. Finally, we call on citizens to continue voicing their commitment to freedom of speech by marking their refusal of these dangerous measures.
To answer to terror with the restrictions of civil rights and the rule of law is an endless trap. It betrays our democratic ideals and betrays all those in the world and in France who have died for these rights.