France sees ratings plunge in global freedom of expression report

In its yearly report, the freedom of expression watchdog group Article 19 paints a grim picture of declining liberties across the globe. The NGO says that France's standing dropped to position 14 out of the 27 European member states.

"France considers itself to be a champion of human rights, but on freedom of expression, they are not as good as they think they are," says David Diaz-Jogeix, Programme Director of human rights monitor group Article 19.

Diaz-Jogeix told RFI that one of the reasons France has slipped in the ratings is due to a memo issued by French Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin in October, calling for the preemptive ban on all Palestinian solidarity protests.

"This is a disproportionate and discriminatory attack against the right to peaceful assembly," he says, adding that police "routinely use excessive force during demonstrations".

Moreover, in its report, Article 19 took note of "an unprecedented act of censorship" when French authorities banned the use of TikTok in view of the situation in New Caledonia, which faced riots over government plans to change the local electoral process.

Despite this, France isn't all bad when it comes to freedom of expression worldwide and it is listed well within the group of countries which, according to Article 19 are "open" when it comes to press freedom and freedom of expression.

In central Asia, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan score the lowest.

Read more on RFI English

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