The sun calls chirac a worm; may have to pay fine

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http://media.guardian.co.uk/presspu....0.html
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Sun's French stunt branded 'disgusting'


Ciar Byrne
Friday February 21, 2003


The Sun: yesterday's front page

The Sun could be forced to pay a £30,000 fine after branding the French president Jacques Chirac a "worm" in a special French edition handed out on the streets of Paris.

"CHIRAC EST UN VER" declared the Sun's front-page splash in the best "up yours Delors" tradition. The page featured a graphic illustration of a worm with the head of the French president emerging from a map of France.

About 2,000 copies of the paper bearing the French cover were distributed in Paris yesterday, causing a stir in a capital unused to a press that taunts politicians so openly.

"Greetings to the people of Paris from the Sun newspaper, which is read by 10 million people every day," bellowed the Sun's special edition.

"We think your president, Jacques Chirac, is a disgrace to Europe by constantly threatening to veto military action to enforce the will of the UN against Iraq.

"British people feel M Chirac, who in the UK is nicknamed the 'worm', is arrogantly strutting about trying to make France seem more important than it really is.

"On behalf of our 10 million readers, we say to you today: Are you not ashamed of your president?"

The tabloid's controversial stance breaks a French law that makes it a criminal offence to insult the president. Breaking the law carries a fine up 45,000 euros.

Rebekah Wade, the editor of the Sun, has also been lambasted over her paper's blatant xenophobia.

"The insults say more about those who fling them around than their target," said a spokeswoman for Mr Chirac.

However, some civil liberties campaigners, including Robert Menard, the head of the international press watchdog, Reporters sans Frontieres, welcomed the Sun's stunt.

"Every day I dream of a press that is more irreverent and less servile towards those in power," said Mr Menard.

Today's Sun says its "Chirac is a worm" edition showed just how out of touch the French president is - its cover was dismissed by the politicians but applauded by many ordinary voters.

The French culture minister, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, branded the edition "aggressive, very disagreeable, pretty vulgar and shows contempt for our country".

The transport minister, Gilles de Robien, described the edition as "digusting".

The Sun said it had received emails from French voters, including a member of the French army, who said it was "unforgivable for our president to ignore your soldiers' sacrifice".

Another told the paper: "Chirac is a worm and an idiot."

The French, who have strict privacy laws and no tradition of tabloid newspapers, are unaccustomed to such direct attacks on their politicians. The country's biggest selling paper is a regional title.

The Sun's owner, Rupert Murdoch, has given his full backing to war, praising George Bush for acting "morally" and "correctly" and describing Tony Blair as "full of guts" for supporting the US stance on Iraq.
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You can be fined for calling the President a "worm"? Gee wiz, almost makes Iraq look liberal.
 
M

Mr_Eon

Guest
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]"aggressive, very disagreeable, pretty vulgar and shows contempt for our country"
Anybody have ANY problems with anything in the above?

Frankly thinking about France makes ME aggressive, disagreeable, vulgar and makes me show contempt for their country.

Eon
 
K

Kohael <PC>

Guest
Wow.. I concur with both Eon.. and Amorphus.

In such circumstances there can only be one conclusion:

France really sucks.
 
I

izip

Guest
Fined for saying the truth, what is the world coming too?

But seriously, this is ridiculous, what's the rationale behind fining him? Sure they may not be the best comments, but they're just comments. If you are a politican you should expect criticism, and frankly, he can be called things a lot worse than what was said by the sun.
 
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