POSTS BY Thomas Hochmann

Shedding Light or Shooting in the Dark – How to define Fake News?

A proposed legislation against the “manipulation of information” is currently under consideration by the French parliament in order to tackle the problem of fake news. A sufficiently precise definition of fake news is a necessary preliminary condition to have a political or legal debate on the issue. The attempts of the French parliament have some significant shortcomings in this regard, but they can serve as a basis to elaborate a better definition.

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Is the Crime in the Eye of the Beholder?

The French Constitutional Council has, for the second time, struck down a law that prohibits the usual consultation of terrorist websites. There is a higher abstract risk associated to the act of publishing a message than in the isolated act of reading it. Focusing on the prevention of the harm likely to be inflicted by the reader of the websites might not be the only way to deal with this statute, though.

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Islam on the Beach – The Burkini Ban in France

In 1964, a young woman wearing a monokini played table tennis on the Croisette, the famous road along the shore in the city of Cannes. She was sentenced for outraging public decency. Half a century later, the mayor of Cannes just banned on his beaches the burkini, a full-body swimsuit weared by some Muslim women. Some other coastal cities followed, one administrative tribunal confirmed, and a new controversy around the keyword “laïcité” was born. It seems to me that the burkini-ban is a legal error and a political mistake.

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Meinungsfreiheit nach Charlie Hebdo: das Phantom des doppelten Maßes

"In Frankreich kann man sich über Muslime lustig machen, aber nicht über Juden – ein Beweis dafür, dass diese das Land regieren." Diese alte antisemitische These hat in Frankreich jüngst neuen Schwung erhalten, zuletzt durch die Verhaftung des wegen seiner antisemitischen Ausfälle berüchtigten Komikers Dieudonné. Dabei beruht sie auf einer unzutreffenden Darstellung der französischen Gesetze und der Art, wie sie angewandt werden.

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