Yellow vests a threat to freedom of opinion?
The yellow vest protests of recent weeks have not only been marked by confrontation with the police. Demonstrators have also attacked journalists and blocked printing facilities to prevent newspapers from being delivered. The yellow vests accuse many media of unobjective and biased reporting. France's press voices concern about the state of freedom of opinion.
Journalists as catalysts of hate
The yellow vests' anger at the media is dangerous, Le Soir warns:
“Shared hatred can bind people together, at least for a time, as can hatred in general. Specific hatred of the media and journalists all the more so. ... Why are the yellow vests so focussed on journalists? Because they act as catalysts for all other hatreds: for the upper-middle class, the rich, the elites, the educated, the experts, the technocrats, the intellectuals, all those who are in the know. ... Journalists are supposed to represent all of that. ... Is this a rejection of freedom of opinion? Yes, but an unconscious one. One that hides behind the demand for good, honest and objective information.”
France must return to tolerance
Quite apart from the yellow vest movement, freedom of opinion is in a bad way right now, historian Maxime Tandonnet writes in Le Figaro:
“Intolerance for other people's views is generally on the rise at the moment, and this is restricting the freedom of expression. The scope for what one can say without risking a beating is increasingly limited. Generally speaking, the statements we are talking about here are not illegal, but they run counter to political correctness, to the spirit of the times, to the dominant liberal, libertarian, post-national, post-border ideology. Above and beyond any legal framework, the punishment for this dissidence is taking the form of mob law in the media and the social networks. ... But what if France started its renewal by returning to tolerance?”