I found this article by the New York Times to be quite upsetting. I was shocked to hear about the governments’ attempts to silence criticism on the Internet because I was under the impression that media in European countries was quite opinionated and openly critical of elites. Therefore, I never thought that officials would try to sue someone for simply expressing their opinion.
A lot of the comments made by French political officials regarding free speech and the Internet were utterly baffling. Jean-François Copé, the parliamentary chief for the governing party called Union for a Popular Movement said “The Internet is a danger for democracy.” What? Monsieur Cope, I thought the essence of democracy was to enable the people to make decisions regarding government authority. Therefore, the Internet provides a forum for the people to express their opinions and engage in discussions with other members of society to make better informed decisions regarding the future of our nation. The Internet protects democracy.
Henri Guaino, one of Mr. Sarkozy’s closest counselors said “We can no longer say anything, we can no longer do anything. It’s absolute transparency — it’s the beginnings of totalitarianism!” Well, that’s a frightening statement. What are you saying and doing that you don’t want the people to know about? It seems to me that if you’re so inclined to keep your actions and thoughts out of the public domain than you’re already knee-deep in totalitarianism rule. Democracy needs transparency. How can the people make intelligent electoral decisions if they don’t know the realities of a candidate’s positions.
I was upset that Mr. Broueilh said she would not leave her “opinion on online videos anymore.” Nadine Morano shouldn’t have been allowed to subpoena Ms. Broueilh’s identity and address for such a small comment. Ms. Broueilh said “oh, the liar” NOT “oh, I think I’m going to blow up the entire nation on such and such a date and here’s a picture of the bomb that I’m going to do it with.” It’s a complete infringement on one’s right to privacy for expressing their opinions and frustrations anonymously. Ms. Broueilh, like billions of other people, used the Internet to vent her feelings of aggravation with official conduct, and if citizen’s lose that right, I’m scared for the future of democracy.