A Week in France #4: End the Racists’ Impunity on the Internet

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski for flickr

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski for flickr

Every Sunday, La Jeune Politique looks back on the events that made the news in the past week, giving you the chance to catch up on the articles you missed and more.

Wednesday, June 12

Three activists from international feminist group FEMEN have been arrested in Tunisia since May 29, after holding topless demonstrations outside the Justice Ministry in Tunis.  Two of the jailed women are French nationals, Pauline Hillier and Marguerite Stern, and the other is German national Josephine Markmann. All of the women were sentenced to four months and one day in prison for public indecency, undermining public morals, and disturbing the peace.

Friday, June 14

In an effort to track potential extremists, France has ordered Twitter to reveal the personal information of racist users. Twitter will need to turn over the details of racist users on demand to the UEJF and four other anti-racist watchdog groups: J’accuse, SOS Racisme, the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples, and the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism. France has strict hate-speech laws, and the French government views online content as falling within its jurisdiction.

Facing pressure from the European Union (EU) community, the French government announced that it would pursue policies of pension reform, a long-time subject of contention in France. The goals in the economic report put forth by the government indicate measures that could save some €7 billion in the pension system. Such measures include an increase in the number of years an individual must work in order to qualify for a full pension plan.

Tuesday, June 18

The leaders of the G8 nations gathered in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland for their annual summit. In an effort to address tax fraud across the world, G8 members had asked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for a report outlining a fast and efficient method for the automated exchange of tax data. While this constitutes a major step in the international tax sphere, such progress has not been made on the Syrian crisis. Efforts have come to little, with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin’s continued defence of the regime of Bachar Al-Assad a major stumbling block.

Wednesday, June 19

The International Airplane Fair at the Bourget Airport near Paris came to an end, as leading companies Airbus and Boeing announce the results of the orders they receive. Both companies felt satisfied: Airbus obtained orders for 241 airplanes worth $39.3bn, while Boeing combined $38bn worth of orders. The European firm, which demonstrated its new-born A350 at the fair, therefore remains the number one airplane producing company in the world.

Thursday, June 20

President François Hollande launched the second annual “Social Conference” at the Palais d’Iéna in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. While last year’s meeting included the initiation of promising plans for “Generation Contracts,” a competitiveness pact, and future job growth, the discussion this year was focused around unemployment and continued economic weakness. The two-day meeting included cabinet ministers, employers, and trade unions. Pensions, training for the unemployed, and the status of France’s civil service were the three issues to be confronted.

The National Assembly passed an article to ensure the protection of whistleblowers as part of the new transparency bill. This measure is criticized by the UMP and the small left-wing party Left Radicals as they believe it would increase the risks of abusive denunciations.

Friday, June 21

While the Government is preparing the 2014 budget, Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti concentrates on the TV license. This tax on televisions is destined to finance the public channels and radio stations. In order to keep in touch with the evolution of screen practices, Filippetti proposed to widen the tax to include all screens, from computers to smartphones. This TV license should reach €131 per TV this year.

Latest: The PRISM Scandal as seen from France

Minister Delegate of Digital Economy Fleur Pellerin, currently in the middle of reconciliation talks with the Silicon Valley, declared, “we realize, maybe a little too late, that it would have been better to be less dependent” on non-European infrastructures. According to Pellerin, the localization of data centers and servers on the national territory is essential to ensuring better data security. She said that having “sovereign cloud computing” is “a means for businesses detaining strategic information to protect their data.” More here.

Coming up on La Jeune Politique

The debate is raging between the partisans of the Europe-United States free-trade agreement, press tycoon Bernard Tapie faces custody and investigation after his alleged involvement in an arbitration scandal with the State, the National Front came close to a win in a by-election, and the results of the Humor & Politics Awards. And, of course, the latest news as it develops.

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