Apparently the leaders of those cheese-eating surrender monkeys over on the other side of the Atlantic have had trouble taking criticism in the past, and at some point in their history made it an offense to insult them.
Well, no more! From the Daily Mail:
In the interests of free speech, MPs revoked legislation dating back to 1881 when anything judged to have ‘offended the head of state’ risked an automatic fine.
The change followed the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling in March that France violated a demonstrator’s right to freedom of expression when he referred to Nicolas Sarkozy as a ‘jerk’.
Mr Sarkozy, the notoriously aggressive 5ft 5ins conservative, became the butt of numerous jokes during his five years in office, which ended last year.
But when a demonstrator held up a placard reading ‘Get Lost Jerk’ at a Sarkozy meeting in western France in 2008, he received a criminal conviction and a fine of around 25 pounds.
This was despite exactly the same expression being used by Sarkozy himself months earlier while he was attending an agricultural show in Paris.
Last year ECHR deemed the punishment handed down to Sarkozy’s tormentor as being disproportionate and a violation of freedom of expression, as the act was a ‘satirical remark.’
The ECHR acknowledged that the insult constituted ‘criticism of a political nature’ for which ‘freedom of expression was of the highest importance.’
Way to grow a sense of humor and a backbone, French politicians.
I mean, I still hold firm that the best thing about France is that it was the setting for that cute Pixar film with the rat cooking, but this is a marked improvement.