|Wednesday, May 24, 2000|
courts rule on another Nazi-oriented web
court rejected an effort to ensure an
internet provider kept Nazi sites
offline in the future. A Jewish group
criticized the decision.
Reuters PARIS - A
French court rejected a suit over a
neo-Nazi Web site on a local Internet
service provider today, two days after
another court ruled that Yahoo France had
to block access to U.S.-based sales of
The Jewish student group that brought
the suit expressed
shock at the
decision and complained the court had
taken no steps to bar the portal from
hosting Nazi sites in the future.
The Union of Jewish Students of France
(UEJF) had asked the court in Nanterre,
near Paris, to order the Multimania portal
to tighten up its internal controls after
a neo-Nazi site opened on the system
earlier this year.
The court accepted Multimania's
explanation that it did not knowingly
incite racial hatred because it did not
realize the site "NSDAP" contained
Multimania shut down the site when it
learned that "NSDAP" is the German acronym
for Hitler's National Socialist German
Workers Party and then saw that the site
contained Nazi propaganda.
Ygal el Harrar said in a
statement that he was "profoundly
shocked and disappointed" by the
ruling, especially the court's finding
that the acronym "NSDAP" was a
specialized term a normal citizen would
not be expected to know.
"If 50 years after the war, the name of
the Nazi party means nothing, what will it
be like in another 50 years?" he asked.
"Has the march toward forgetting already
started?" The UEJF, which cosponsored the
suit against Yahoo France, said it would
probably appeal the judgement.
Police said a youth living in northern
France had been traced as the originator
of the site and might be charged with
inciting racial hatred.
A Paris court ruled Monday that the
French subsidiary of Yahoo! Inc had to
block access in France to U.S.-based
auction sites that were selling Nazi,
neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan objects such as
films, swastikas, uniforms, daggers and
Yahoo France said the unprecedented
ruling, which gave it two months to
comply, could set a dangerous precedent
for Internet users around the world.
The French Internet Service Providers
Association (AFA) said in a statement that
"it is an illusion to want to enjoin a
foreign provider to deny access for French
citizens to material that is allowed in
its country but actionable in France."
"More importantly," it said, "such an
injunction would create an extremely
dangerous precedent for French sites, a
number of which infringe on the political,
religious or moral rules of foreign
countries, especially non-democratic
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