Riot Crackdown Nets Bloggers
By Bruce Gain
02:50 PM Nov. 09, 2005 PT
French prosecutors shut down several blogs this week and arrested
bloggers suspected of inciting violence, as officials moved to
squelch riots that have rocked France for more than 10 days.
A prosecuting attorney from Le Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris,
who spoke under condition of anonymity, told Wired News that three
bloggers and forum visitors allegedly posted messages that violated
French criminal statutes governing violent speech. Two of the
bloggers, who were arrested earlier this week, could be arraigned
under violent speech statutes, the prosecutor said. The blogs in
question, he said, were hosted on a French site called Skyblog, which
is owned by Skyrock.
One of the blogs, called Hardcore, allegedly published violent,
racially tainted hate speech that, according to the prosecutor,
incited violence with a post called "Destroy France."
"We arrested the site's creator and the author of a posted message,
which called for rioters to 'take out all of France' last Friday
between 9 and 10 o'clock," the prosecutor said, adding that the
alleged perpetrators were a minor and an adult in the Paris region
who are under house arrest and facing criminal charges.
Authorities in Aix-en-Provence, the prosecutor said, are questioning
another minor who was arrested for having allegedly called for
"anyone who is man enough to go and burn down the local police
department," on his site, Nike La France, which means "take out France."
Skyblog has shut down many other sites, a Skyrock spokesman said, but
he would not elaborate on their content.
"All I can say is that we don't comment on exactly why we shut down
certain sites, which we systematically do as a matter of policy when
they violate certain guidelines," David Roizen said. "Other than
that, I can't say anything more and I don't have the time to go into
Skyrock deletes roughly 6,500 articles and shuts down 10 blogs every
day that violate its policy prohibiting racist, obscene or violent
content, the company said in a statement.
"In some of the serious cases, we alert the authorities," the
But Ahmed Meguinia, a political activist who saw some of the Paris
region's hardest-hit areas during the past week, said many bloggers
feared prosecution for publishing even nonviolent content. While not
condoning blogs that incited violence, he said that there was a lack
of media coverage explaining why ethnically segregated inhabitants of
some of France's poorest cities have been driven to riot. Instead,
the world repeatedly sees CNN images of burning cars and shops, he said.
"Many think that you can get arrested by only saying that you agree
with the riots," Meguinia said. "Meanwhile, journalists are only
writing about what the public officials tell them, and won't go into
certain neighborhoods because they think they are as dangerous as
Since the civil unrest began Oct. 29, nearly 1,500 individuals have
been arrested or questioned by prosecutors, according to the French
Ministry of Justice .
 Skyblog : http://www.skyblog.com/
 Skyrock : http://www.skyrock.com/