This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of December, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of broadcasting: 3 December 2018
Media outlet: Les Voix de l'Info, a current affairs TV show on CNEWS.
Author: Laurence Marchand-Taillade, founder of the Observatory on Secularism of Val d’Oise and president of Secular Forces.
Description of the anti-Muslim content: During the TV show Les Voix de l’Info, Laurence Marchand-Taillade, president of the Secular Forces movement, said that the violent rioters among the Yellow Vests who are from the suburbs have developed a strategy of destabilisation based on speculated methods used by the Muslim Brotherhood. As a source for her claims, Laurence Marchand-Taillade used “Egyptian newspapers” which she defended as “completely serious”. She also said that the violent modus operandi are the same used during the Arab Spring in Egypt. The host, journalist Sonia Mabrouk, did not challenge these claims nor call them out for their inflammatory connotation.
Myth debunked: The Yellow Vests (Les Gilets Jaunes) are named after the high-visibility tops drivers, by law, have to carry in their vehicles, and that have become a symbol of their protest. As the BBC explains, the Yellow Vests are a movement which “cuts across age, job and region, and includes members of the working and middle classes, all affected by the higher cost of living”. The Yellow Vests protests started in November 2018 to protest against a sharp increase in diesel taxes. Since then, however, their demands have expanded and the protestors are expressing their general anger at higher living costs in France, as well at the economic policies of the President Emmanuel Macron. Claiming that the rioters are using methods used by the Muslim Brotherhood distorts the reality of what has been happening in France since November. Attributing blame to Muslim people is a misleading and inaccurate representation of the protests. It also exposes Laurence Marchand-Taillade’s intention to point the finger at one specific religious group. The Egyptian sources quoted by Laurence Marchand-Taillade are not robust. As the Middle East Eye writes, conspiracy theories about the Yellow Vests have abounded in UAE and Egypt: “pro-government press in Egypt have published reports accusing the Brotherhood - or even the Islamic State - of being behind the yellow vests.” These accusations by the pro-government press in Egypt are probably to discourage the development of any similar movements in their country.
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