The CSA (FR) fines French TV channel Cnews €200 000 for incitement to hatred

posted on 24 March, 2021   (public)

A heavy penalty by the CSA to remind that hate speech and abuses of freedom of expression will not remain unpunished

On 17 March 2021, the CSA, the French audiovisual regulatory authority, fined French TV news channel 'CNews' €200 000 euros for incitement to hatred and for a breach of the broadcaster's obligation to retain editorial control over its programme output.

- The facts:

In September 2020, during a  programme on CNews, a French news channel, a regular columnist made comments regarding unaccompanied foreign minors, accusing them of being “rapists”, “robbers” and “murderers”. 

In response to a previous formal notice sent by the CSA in 2019 regarding comments inciting to hatred held on this programme by the same columnist, the broadcaster had decided to discontinue the live streaming and to pre-record the show in order to retain editorial control over the programme output.

In its decision, which was published in the Official Journal, the CSA states that:

- Even if they occur during a legitimate debate around French migration policy, these stigmatizing comments were likely to encourage hate and discrimination against unaccompanied foreign minors;
- As the show is pre-recorded, it was a deliberate choice from the broadcaster to keep said sequence;
- No alternative viewpoints were provided during the show.


- The decision:

As a consequence, the CSA concluded that the broadcaster did not comply with Article 15 of the Audiovisual Law of 30 September 1986 (ban to incite to hatred) and the contract signed with the CSA (obligation to retain editorial control over the channel) and fined the broadcaster 200 000 euros to be paid to the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC), the national agency responsible for the production and promotion of cinematic and audiovisual arts in France.

The broadcaster intends to appeal against this decision.


Source: CSA