Censorship

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Censorship
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France is a European country that primarily worships Christianity.

General censorship[]

  • France has been known to criminalize material advancing extreme political positions. Between 1892 and 1994, it was unlawful to promote or advocate anarchy or overthrow of the government. Also in 1994, the government enacted the Gayssot Act, which criminalized material that denied The Holocaust.
  • From 1920 to 1991, any advocacy of birth control was banned in France, even though birth control itself was allowed on 1967. This ban was lifted because of the AIDS crisis and the need to communicate about condoms.

Internet censorship[]

Books censorship[]

  • The manga Angel by U-jin, published in France starting in 1995, suffered a process of interdiction which prevented bookshops from displaying it on shelves.
    • From 1939 to 2004, French government could ban any printed document "of foreign provenance" if it was deemed a threat to public order. Most of these were porn, but some interesting things also found themselves banned:
      • Documents from Soviet Union or anti-colonial movements were sometimes banned in The '50s and The '60s.
      • In 1976 French government banned Jean-Paul Alata's Prison d'Afrique, where he told how he and his cellmates were tortured in Boiro Camp, using this law to protect their relations with the government of Guinea to be able to invest in their Bauxite mines. Alata was a French national but was stripped of his citizenship in 1962; when his Guinean citizenship was also stripped in 1970 (after a kangaroo court sentenced him to life for "treason"); although the work was written and printed in France, the French government still considered him "foreign" because he was technically stateless.
      • This law was invoked in 1999 to ban The Turner Diaries.
    • In occupied France during World War II, any book from an author whose name was on the Otto or Bernhardt lists (essentially including Jews, anti-Germans, Marxists, Brits, and Americans) was banned from any bookshops.
    • Since the Youth Publications Act 1949 (Loi du 16 juillet 1949 sur les publications destinées à la jeunesse), France has an official committee tasked with regulating both French and foreign publications in order to protect morality of youth.
      • Two Buck Danny issues were banned since they took place during the The Korean War. It caused future issues from no using real countries.
      • "The Time Trap" from Blake and Mortimer has been banned.
      • "Billy the Kid" from Lucky Luke was banned because Billy was shown sucking a gun.
      • Alix's "La Griffe noire" and "Les Légions perdues" were seen as references to the Algerian War.
      • Nowadays, they only restrict porn (the last bans occuring on 2011), but as late as 2004, Riad Sattouf had to alter "Ma circoncision."

Video Games censorship[]

TV censorship[]

The Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA, Superior Audiovisual Council) leaves to TV channels to choose the rating of a show, but can impose penalties if the rating is too low.

There are five ratings for television shows:

  • Tous publics (universal/U): suitable for all audiences
  • Déconseillé aux moins de 10 ans (-10): Not recommended for anyone under 10s (excluded from shows for children)
  • Déconseillé aux moins de 12 ans (-12): Not recommended for anyone under 12s (broadcast mostly after 10:00pm but occasionally after 8:30pm)
  • Déconseillé aux moins de 16 ans (-16): Not recommended for anyone under 16s (broadcast after 10:30pm)
  • Interdit aux moins de 18 ans (-18): Forbidden to anyone under 18s (broadcast between 0:00am and 5:00am)
  • The anime Kinnikuman was banned in France due to the presence of Brocken.Jr, a heroic swastika-bearing character (despite said character not supporting Nazi beliefs). The anime saw a limited release, but only 49 out of the 137 original episodes were shown on television.
  • Dear Brother was pulled from broadcast after episode 7 due to featuring "themes not suitable to the young public" (psychological violence, sexual ambiguity and suicide attempts).
  • Chojin Sentai Jetman did not had the episodes 17, 18, 19, 27, 29, 30, 36 and 39 onwards dubbed and aired due to these episodes featuring blood and graphic violence.
  • Hokuto no Ken was taken off air from TF1 after episode 84 (and episode 35 not dubbed due to a technical problem), due to overreacting from "moral guardians" such as parents' groups and and politicians, with the most notable being the left-leaning politician Ségolène Royal (who is infamously critical of Japanese animation in a preachy way, decrying it as "too much violent" and of being of "low-quality", thinking that "it makes children stupid"), resulting in many episodes being censored, with dialogues being with the lines being comically ad-libbed (sometimes with puns, such as the ones involving "Hokuto" and "Nanto" names, as well with Kenshiro saying "Tu ne sais pas encore, mais tu est dejà mort" ("You don't know yet, but you're already dead"), sometimes followed by a countdown before his finisher's irreversible and lethal effects materialize) and the dialog was toned down. However, the DVD editions and cable TV runs on the AB Productions-owned Mangas channel, had the episodes shown uncut.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn - in this anime movie, The Dictator was removed from the French dub due to the antagonists being a reference to the Nazis and to avoid insulting Holocaust survivors after World War II. All swastikas are also replaced with red X's. Additionally, all "third reich" references are removed.
  • A 2001 documentary about mothers was banned when one of the mothers became a suspect in the death of her infant child; it remained banned during the trial to prevent it from influencing the proceedings and was lifted when they ended — ten years later.

Rating of films can vary between the theatrical release and television broadcast. The CSA is quite lenient about sex and offensive language compared to the United States and the United Kingdom

Movies censorship[]

All films intended for theatrical release have to be granted a visa by the Ministry of Culture, upon the recommendation of Commission for film classification (Commission de classification cinématographique), which can give a film one of five ratings:

  • Tous publics (universal/U): suitable for all audiences
  • Avertissement (!): some scenes may disturb young viewers. Can be used in conjunction with any rating as a warning.
  • Interdit aux moins de 12 ans (-12): Forbidden for under 12s
  • Interdit aux moins de 16 ans (-16): Forbidden for under 16s
  • Interdit aux moins de 18 ans (-18): Forbidden for under 18s but not pornographic. Usually used for movies containing unsimulated sex or extreme violence/cruelty
  • Interdit aux moins de 18 ans classé X (-18 or X): Forbidden for under 18s and pornographic. This is not a rating per se and it is equivalent to the American "unrated" rank as such films are not played in movie cinemas.t

Cinemas are bound by law to prevent underage audiences from viewing films and may be charged a fine in failure to do so.

The Commission cannot make cuts to a film, but it can ban it, although this latter power is rarely used. In practice, this means that most films in France are categorized rather than censored.

Although there aren't any written guidelines as to what content should receive which rating and ratings are given on a case by case basis, the commissioners typically cite violent, sexual and drug related content (especially if it is deemed to be graphic or gratuitous) as reasons for higher ratings. On the other hand, little attention is paid to strong language. However sexual content is much less likely to produce a high rating than in many other countries, including the United States.

  • For three decades, no black and white film could be colorized in France, and no existing colorized version could be distributed there, without permission of the copyright holders.
  • Paths of Glory (1957) by Stanley Kubrick was banned in France until the death of President Charles de Gaulle in 1970 due to its critical depiction of the French Army during World War I.
  • The Battle of Algiers (1966) was banned in France until 1971 for its criticism of France's human rights violations during the Algerian War of Independence.
  • Baise-moi, an extremely violent rape and revenge film, was the first film in three decades to be banned in France. It was eventually reclassified as X (generally a rating for porn), then 18 (which has this film to thank for its reintroduction as an official classification).
  • Due to a copyright dispute, Oscar Hammerstein's Carmen Jones wasn't released in France until 1981.
  • The film Night and Fog, about Nazi concentration camps, was banned from competition in the 1957 Cannes Film Festival on the demand of the West German ambassador, who feared the public might believe All Germans Are Nazis.
  • Bloody Mama was banned in France at one point due to the high amount of violence.


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