Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Highest French Court Upholds Ban On Performance

The Council of State, France's highest administrative judicial body, has upheld a ban on a performance by controversial performer Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, shortly after a lower court lifted the ban.  Nantes city officials had originally imposed the ban, objecting that Dieudonne's speech and actions were likely to incite racial hatred, particiularly since he often performs the "quenelle," a gesture which he invented in 2004, and which seems to be a reverse Nazi salute. Others, including some  athletes, have since picked it up as a kind of anti-authoritarian act, but it is often interpreteted as anti-Semitic, a charge Dieudonne denies.  Dieudonne has been convicted several times of inciting "racial hatred."

Dieudonne also faces bans on his performances in several other French cities.  More here (in French) from Le Monde on the Conseil d'Etat ruling, explaining that the performance is likely to cause public disorder and damage to fundamental principles, including personal dignity, which are among the basic values protected by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789) and French legal traditions.

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