A list of primarily left-leaning publications and media organizations are all reporting that they have been refused media accreditation for Front National’s election evening event, being held in the Bois de Vincennes on the eastern edge of Paris. According to the French publication Public Senat, a dozen media outlets are claiming to have been “banned” from the event.
Please note that all quotes in this article have been translated and may not be literal.
On Twitter, journalists from StreetPress, Politico, Bondy Blog, Explicite, Brut, Konbini, the weekly Politis, the daily Yann Barthès, Mediapart, Quotiden, and a journalist from Marianne who recently co-authored a book on Marine Le Pen, have all been denied access to the far-right Front National’s party in in Hénin-Beaumont (Pas- de-Calais).
As the Guardian reports, Libération, another left-leaning outlet, has announced that they will boycott the event in solidarity with their colleagues. Culture magazine Les Inrocks will also be joining the boycott.
“In solidarity with our colleagues, the editors of Libération, who do not know at the time of writing if they are affected by this measure, decided not to attend the party organized by the extremist far-right party. These anti-democratic and anti-freedom measures must stop, such as the intimidation of journalists in meetings.”
“By way of solidarity, we [Les Inrocks] also boycott the election evening of the FN.”
Journalistic organizations, including the Associated Free Press (AFP), recently signed a group statement protesting Front National’s attempts to “choose the media authorized to follow Marine Le Pen,” calling it “a hindrance to the freedom” of speech. Journalists have frequently butted heads with Front National during the campaign, accusing them of attempting to control reporting on the far-right candidate.
Regardless of the results of the election, Marine Le Pen stepped down from Front National leadership after qualifying for the French presidency in the runoff election, claiming that her presidential platform was hers and not the party’s, in order to boost her appeal. It is currently unknown who will leade Front National going forward, but the presidential election is expected to give them a boost in the upcoming French parliamentary elections regardless.
Meanwhile, many French voters have stated that, while they dislike Le Pen’s opponent, centrist Emmanuel Macron, they will be voting for him to block Le Pen’s rise to power. Voter turnout in France is still down from the last election, as many voters have refused to back either candidate, but some 65-70 percent of the French voting population is still expected at the polls. French territories outside of continental France, including St-Pierre-Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, are reportedly voting almost exclusively for Macron.
Update: Fifteen publications are now reporting that they have been banned from the Front National event, and both L’Humanité and Le Monde have joined the boycott. Front National press official Alex Frederiksen responded to inquiries regarding the bans with a very brief statement that there was “no room, full of people,” resulting in the limited accreditation. Statements taken by the AFP, however, indicate that many of the banned outlets applied for attendance early last week; meanwhile, outlets which applied this weekend but were more sympathetic to Le Pen were granted access.
“The Front National has chosen to exclude some French and international media from its election evening event on 7 May… Le Monde forcefully condemns this attitude which does not allow proper coverage of a major democratic moment and shows a poor interpretation of press freedom. In solidarity with the media concerned, we have decided we will not be present at this election evening event. This decision will not prevent us from covering the Front National to the same journalistic standards.”
[Featured Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]