Last year the magazine featured the MLA as a slave African after publishing a fictional story.
PARIS — A Paris court on Wednesday found a conservative French magazine guilty under French hate speech laws for making racist insults over a fictional story published last year that depicts a lawmaker as a slave African. depicted which was put up for auction in the 18th century.
The magazine, Valles Actueles, caused outrage in France after publishing a seven-page fiction story about Daniel Obonno, 41, a French legislator who is Black and was born in the former French colony of Gabon. Cause.
The piece was accompanied by images – including one of Ms Obono chained around her neck – indicating condemnation of the government and politicians from parties across the political spectrum. Ms Obono called it “an insult to my history, my family and ancestry, the history of slavery”.
The publisher of Valeurs Actuelles, Eric Monzalas, who was accused of committing discriminatory public insults, was fined 1,500 euros, or about $1,750. The editor-in-chief of the magazine, Geoffroy Lejeune, and the article’s author, Laurent Julien, were both accused of involvement in that crime, fined the same amount. All three were ordered to pay 5,000 euros in damages to Ms Obono.
“Justice is done,” Ms Obono, who represents Paris in the lower house of parliament, said. said on twitter. “We are here, we are here to stay, and we will not leave. And in the end we will win.”
The publication of the article came as France, with its colonial and slave-trading past, is under a growing and often difficult reckoning. Many say that painful history is often overlooked; Figures on the right and far-right complain that it is often exaggerated.
The article by Valers Actueles, published last August, was part of a series of short stories written by an unknown author that portrayed contemporary political figures in an earlier historical period.
The story about Ms. Obono, which was set in the 18th century, places her in a small village in present-day Chad, where she said she “regained from her roots” before becoming disillusioned with the village’s “patriarchal system”. Glad to join”. The legend continues, portraying him as being captured and falling into the inter-African slave trade, before being bought by a French cleric, who frees him and takes him to a monastery in France to recover from the experience. .
Facing a storm of criticism, the magazine’s editors apologized but denied that the story and images were racist. Instead, he said, the purpose of the story was to remind readers that slavery in Africa was perpetrated not only by Europeans, but by Africans as well.
French law criminalizes some forms of hate speech, including publicly insulting someone on ethnic or religious grounds. Prosecutors in Paris launched an investigation several days after the article was published, and a trial was held in June.
The Human Rights League of France, which participated in the trial, welcomed the decision. Statement on Wednesday, saying that “fiction should be free, but it cannot serve as a fig leaf for deliberately racist and derogatory speech.”
Valeurs Actuelles, a small, general news magazine founded in 1966, has often been accused of offensive or incendiary coverage. In May, it caused a stir by publishing an anonymous letter, allegedly written by active-duty soldiers in the French military, warning of an impending “civil war” fueled by Islamism and identity politics.