“Are we about to lose the battle for freedom of expression?” writes Le Point magazine editor-in-chief Étienne Gernelle.

He recalls the solidarity campaign after the attack on the satirical newspaper "Charlie Hebdo": "Je suis Charlie" was the slogan after two Islamists committed a massacre in the newspaper's editorial office and murdered twelve people.

That was on January 7, 2015. On the seventh anniversary of the assassination, one had the impression that the memory of the assassination, to which journalists, cartoonists and police officers fell victim, was disappearing from the consciousness of the population.

Juerg Altwegg

Freelance writer in the feuilleton.

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There were no dead in Roubaix - yet.

But death threats have been coming in since the airing of private broadcaster M6's Zone Interdite program on January 23.

Presenter Ophélie Meunier and Roubaix-based lawyer Amine Elbahi are under police protection.

Her report documented the advance of radical Islam in France in spectacular images and sequences.

They showed that in Roubaix, dolls without human facial features are sold.

There are six halal butcher shops within half a kilometer of a street in the city center.

Bookstores sell Salafist propaganda literature.

A restaurant has set up boxes for fully veiled women (FAZ from February 2).

Mentioned self-critically: the lack of willingness to react

This is what it looks like in Roubaix, and it explains why the report by M6, seven years after the attack on "Charlie Hebdo" and the Jewish supermarket "Hyper Cacher" in Paris (where four other people were murdered), became a test case for freedom of speech has become in France. Earlier this week Richard Malka, the lawyer for the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, called on the media to show solidarity with Ophélie Meunier and Amine Elbahi. He did not remain unheard.

On Friday, "Figaro" published an impressive appeal for freedom of information and freedom of expression.

It was signed by philosophers and writers, including Pascal Bruckner, Luc Ferry, Kamel Daoud, Boualem Sansal, Michel Onfray, André Comte-Sponville and Frédéric Beigbeder.

The names of prominent journalists are also on the list.

Self-critically, they mention their lack of willingness to react: “It took days for the first expressions of solidarity from colleagues for Ophélie Meunier.

It took politicians' tweets to rouse journalists.” The text recalls that France occupies a “shameful” 34th place in Reporters Without Borders' press freedom rankings.

“Le Point” also draws a frightening balance sheet.

The magazine reports on around thirty intellectuals and journalists who are under police protection - by no means every case is made public.

"Soon it will no longer be possible to report on Islam, fanaticism and fundamentalism," fears lawyer Malka, who cannot leave his apartment without his bodyguards.

The editor-in-chief Étienne Gernelle appeals to the responsibility and solidarity of every journalist: "We are all Ophélie Meunier and Amine Elbahi."

The journalist Éric Zemmour, who wants to be president and overtakes Marine Le Pen from the right, uses Roubaix as proof of the “great revolution” during the election campaign.

But Roubaix is ​​not “Afghanistan, two hours from Paris” as Zemmour wrote.

The report does not talk about war and the Taliban.

Roubaix is ​​not all of France either.

But Roubaix is ​​not an isolated case, and the reality shown by the M6 ​​channel has been well documented.

If France's intellectuals don't bring this up any more;

if journalists no longer report on this reality but have to be asked to do so by politicians, they have failed the test.

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