Lawyer : Press Law
Defamation, slanderous denunciation, insult, discrimination, damage to image, provocation to crimes and misdemeanors, offence of false news, provocation to discrimination, forbidden publication…
Goldwin’s criminal law attorneys use their experience and expertise to assist you in your criminal proceedings in the field of public communication.
What is press law?
In a country like France where freedom of expression and freedom of opinion are very well protected, press law has a major place in criminal law.
The law of the press is governed by the law of July 29, 1881 on the freedom of the press which affirms the freedom of the press while defining its limits. The difficulty of press law lies in finding a balance between the freedom left to the press and the limits to be set in order to respect the rights of others. Ensuring that the media (newspapers, radio, television, internet…) are not used to harm is a crucial issue in criminal law.
Following the law of July 29, 1881, anyone involved in the field of public communication can be held criminally liable in the context of a dispute related to press law. Indeed, several reprehensible criminal offences are provided for by the provisions of the law on freedom of the press.
When to call upon a lawyer specialized in press law?
The emergence of the right to freedom of the press implies the appearance of new offences provided for by the law of July 29, 1881.
The recourse to a lawyer specialized in press law allows to obtain a specialized assistance when a defamation, an insult or a slanderous denunciation is characterized. Our press law attorneys will ensure your interests in any proceedings involving the media.
In this day and age where social networks are predominant in our society, the support of a lawyer specialized in press law is necessary in order to fight against all criminal offences that may exist through our screens.
What are the offences provided for by the law of July 29, 1881?
Victim or accused of a press law offence, the firm is at your side to defend your interests.
The law of July 29, 1881 provides for several offences in press law for which the firm can assist you.
Article 29 of the law of July 29, 1881 defines defamation as “Any allegation or imputation of a fact which is prejudicial to the honor or consideration of the person or body to which the fact is attributed”.
In order for defamation to be characterized, it is necessary that three constitutive elements be met
- an accusation concerning a specific fact
- an attack on esteem
- an identifiable person
The accusation must concern a specific fact which, by its disclosure, has damaged the esteem of an identifiable person.
According to article 32 of the law on the freedom of the press, any person accused of defamation is liable to a fine of 12,000 euros. If the defamation is directed against a person or a group of persons because of their origin, ethnicity, nation or religion, the penalty is one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros.
Insult is an insult materialized by a writing, a word or gestures not based on any reality and aiming at harming the honor of the targeted person. Contrary to defamation, insult refers to general remarks and not to remarks that can be demonstrated or challenged in court.
The identification of an offensive term is the first criterion for an insult to be characterized. The second criterion refers to the fact that the person who claims to be the victim of the insult must be identifiable. If the victim is not directly named, it is not enough for the insult to be pronounced, it is necessary that a person close to the person targeted by the insult be able to identify him/her.
The penalty incurred by a person accused of insulting someone can be a fine of up to 75,000 euros and 3 years in prison.
Publication of false news
The offence of publishing false news is provided for in article 27 of the law of July 29, 1881.
The fact of publishing, disseminating or reproducing false news is punishable by a fine of 45 000 euros if the action was done in bad faith and with the aim of disturbing the public peace.
The manifestation of prohibited opinions
In addition to the importance of freedom of expression in France, the law on freedom of the press ensures that public order and certain minorities are respected.
Thus, certain opinions are prohibited:
- provocation to crimes and offences
- apology for crimes and offences
- the contestation of genocide and crimes against humanity
- racism and anti-Semitism
- homophobia, sexism, handiphobia