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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The Solidarity Offense in France: Egalité, Fraternité, Solidarité!

On July 6 2018, the French Constitutional Council ruled that the commonly called “delit de solidarité” or “solidarity offense” which criminalises any person who facilitates the irregular entry or stay of a foreigner in France is partially unconstitutional. Even if the legislator has to reconcile the constitutional principle of fraternity with the safeguarding of the public order, the former implies the “freedom to help others, for a humanitarian purpose, without considering the legality of their residence on the national territory”.

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„Die Republik tritt die Grundrechte mit Füßen“: Zurückweisungen an der französisch-italienischen Binnengrenze

Im Streit zwischen der Kanzlerin und ihrem Minister ist von Europa viel die Rede, doch aus der Situation an anderen Binnengrenzen werden kaum Schlüsse gezogen. Dabei werden z.B. an den Grenzübergängen von Italien nach Frankreich seit Jahren Drittstaatsangehörige ohne Visum zurückgewiesen. Dort geht es jedoch nicht mit rechten Dingen zu. Das kritisiert die französische Menschenrechtskommission in einer Stellungnahme vom 19. Juli.

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Excesses of Counter-Terrorism and Constitutional Review in France: The Example of the Criminalisation of the Consultation of Websites

In the span of three years, France has adopted no less than five new counter-terrorism laws in November 2014, November 2015, June 2016, February 2017, and October 2017. As in other countries, this surge in counter-terrorism legislation has been prompted by a rise and reconfiguration of the terrorist threat (notably with regards to Foreign Terrorist […]

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30 days, six months… forever? Border control and the French Council of State

For Christmas 2017, the French Council of State – the Supreme Court for administrative matters in France – gave a nasty present to those attached to the free movement of persons in the Schengen area. In a ruling issued on 28 December (see here, in French), it upheld the decision of the French Government to reintroduce, for the ninth time in a row, identity control at its “internal” borders, i.e. borders with other Schengen countries – even though checks at internal borders are not, in fact, systematically performed. This decision, issued without even bringing the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling, sets aside, probably unlawfully, the time limit set by the Schengen Borders Code.

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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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Der europäische Sisyphos: ein Kommentar zur Europa-Rede Emmanuel Macrons in der Sorbonne

Ob eine Rede von historischer Tragweite ist, lässt sich meist erst Jahre später im Rückblick und in Kenntnis des weiteren Verlaufs der Dinge bemessen. Das dürfte auch für die Grundsatzrede zur Zukunft der europäischen Integration gelten („Initiative pour l’Europe“), die zwei Tage nach der Wahl zum 19. Deutschen Bundestag  der französische Staatspräsident Emmanuel Macron an der Sorbonne gehalten hat. Daher werde ich die Rede vorläufig und vorsichtshalber lediglich als bemerkenswert bezeichnen.

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How dangerous is Emmanuel Macron – really?

To what extent does Emmanuel Macron represent a risk for civil liberties in France? Against this background of looming one-party hegemony and executive overreach, especially in security matters, the Conseil constitutionnel, the French Constitutional Council, found it wise to remind the government of the limits of its police powers.

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