French right-wing leader Marine Le Pen accused France of “complacency” towards Islamism.
The former president of the National Rally party believes this emerged particularly after the new conflict between Hamas and Israel erupted in light of the attack carried out by the terror group on October 7.
Ms Le Pen, who is currently the president of the National Rally group in France’s National Assembly, took aim in particular at the AFP, the most important news agency in Emmanuel Macron’s country.
Appearing on the political programme broadcast by France 3 on Sunday, Dimanche en Politique, Ms Le Pen lashed out at AFP for its policy not to describe Hamas militants as terrorists.
She said: “In the three weeks we have just been through, there has been a revealing effect of complacency and even sometimes compromise with Islamism on the part of a section of the political, journalistic, associative and cultural world. For example, AFP, the major press agency, financed with public funds, refuses to state that Hamas is a terrorist group.”
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The French agency has a stance very similar to that of the BBC when it comes to the use of the word “terrorism”.
The news organisation released a statement on Saturday in which it explained the reasons behind its policy, with its long statement beginning: “In conformity with its mission to report the facts without expressing any judgement, AFP doesn’t describe any movement, group or individuals as terrorists without directly attributing the use of this word or without using quotation marks.”
The organisation noted it had refrained from describing people as “terrorists” even when its own journalists were “brutally killed” during attacks.
The editor in charge of AFP’s ethical and editorial principles, Eric Wishart, pointed out that “this is a long-standing policy at the agency and is in line with the editorial policies of other international news agencies and major media, such as the BBC”.
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Mr Wishart also noted AFP states that Hamas is a proscribed terror organisation in several countries, including the US, the UK, Israel and the European Union.
The publicly-funded BBC has also been criticised in Britain for its long-standing policy to avoid describing groups and people as terrorists in a bid to remain impartial.
Ms le Pen didn’t point her finger just towards the French news agency, as she claimed the past few weeks have shown “complacency” among many other high-profile individuals and “a certain number of associations”.
The National Rally member seemingly referred to La France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s left-wing party which has shown reluctance to condemn Hamas after its militants killed around 1,400 people in Israel and took more than 220 hostages.
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Sharing on X, formerly Twitter, the AFP’s statement, Mr Mélenchon said: “In accordance with the semantic rigour of the AFP. History proves us right. The word terrorism is a diversion to escape international justice and justify the right to massacre.”
Mr Macron hasn’t been on the fence on the use of the word terrorist as he clearly condemned Hamas’ harrowing attack.
On October 24, the French President called for the US-led international coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria to widen its scope and tackle Hamas too.
Moreover, speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Macron said France and Israel shared terrorism as their “common enemy”.
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