The right of communication and the sanction of harmful content

Several procedural ways exist to deal with disagreements on information disseminated on a more or less large scale by the media and the various means of communication, social networks or others.
This consists, most often after a minimum of preliminary amicable steps or steps with the platforms, in taking legal action before the criminal courts (repressive approach) or civil courts (approach more oriented towards the removal of content) via emergency or lengthy procedures, to request the removal of content and damages.
Administrative authorities such as the CNIL, CSA, DGCCRF, etc. or associations may also be called upon in the context of preventive or collective action. Mediation can also be useful.
Depending on the case, it will be necessary to favor a short procedure (in the most obvious cases) or a long one, to initiate a civil or criminal investigation or to cite directly before the court.
The press law deals more specifically with the repression of offences such as defamation and insult, and infringement of the presumption of innocence, in order to preserve freedom of expression.
This press procedure is therefore fraught with pitfalls, which discourage complainants. And the use of a short procedure for a withdrawal of publication or a request for deprogramming can be perilous.
But around the press law there are specific legislations and regimes that allow to sanction other types of contents: in no particular order:
- The recent law on electoral manipulation ("fake news" law),
– The protection of privacy,
– The internet host reference,
– Law on personal data,
- Image rights, copyright,
– Special regimes on sensitive content (pedophilia, terrorism, etc.),

Generally speaking, any content may give rise to civil or criminal proceedings as soon as damage is proven or imminent, unless it falls within the scope of the special regimes, in which case there can be no derogation from these special regimes. Hence the importance of the correct qualification of the content.
Thus, for example, the denigration of a product or a company, or a brand, can often be more simply dealt with in short civil proceedings, by carefully qualifying the offending content as "denigration" and not defamation.

We'll lynch you: the right to be forgotten on the internet

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Defamation, false testimony, slanderous denunciation…what are the differences?