24 Jun 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 07 Apr 2015 n° 57/2015 France

Administrative Blocking of Websites "Inciting Terrorism"

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 13 February 2015, the French Ministry of the Interior ordered the administrative blocking of five websites "inciting or defending terrorism" under the Terrorism Act passed in November 2014. Several within the French media believe that at least one of the sites in question was not directly inciting or defending terrorism. On 30 March 2015, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, condemned the unilateral decision by the French Ministry of the Interior to censor these sites without prior judicial oversight. She called on the French government to reconsider the parts of the anti-terrorist law enabling website blocking which currently does not have to undergo judicial oversight.
Updates
10 Jun 2019
In its 2018 report, the qualified personality, appointed by CNIL to operate the control of the administrative blocking of websites provoking acts of terrorism or condoning them, identified 25,474 requests by OCLCTIC for the blocking of websites, the withdrawal of content, the referral of addresses as well as a sharp decrease in terrorist content.
25 Feb 2019
In a 4 February 2019 judgment over a request of the qualified personality, appointed by the National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) to operate the control of the administrative blocking of websites provoking acts of terrorism or condoning them, the Cergy-Pontoise Administrative Court quashed several decisions by the Central Office for Combating Crime Connected to Information and Communication Technologies (OCLCTIC) blocking "Indymedia.org" websites. The court considered that, as the facts at issue did not constitute acts of terrorism, their publication could not be qualified as provoking or condoning terrorism.
21 Mar 2016
In a 15 February 2016 judgment, the Council of State dismissed two appeals against the procedure that allows the administrative blocking and removal of websites without judicial warrant. According to the court, if the Ministry of the Interior necessarily gets the connection data of Internet users who are seeking to access a blocked site, the redirecting of Internet users is only an implementation mode of the blocking process provided for by law and does not affect the secrecy of correspondence.
State replies
12 May 2015
Reply by the French authorities
Follow-ups
26 Sep 2017
The CoE Commissioner for Human Rights recalls that any restrictions on access to Internet content should be based on a clear and predictable framework affording guarantee of judicial oversight to prevent possible abuses.
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