Outcry over racism fails to prevent publication in France of far-right magazine

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 3:32am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 3:32am
AFP

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A weekly newspaper with a front page comparing a black government minister to a monkey hit newsstands in France yesterday, despite legal objections and a nationwide outcry over the racist slur.

The far-right satirical publication Minute went on sale with a cover featuring a picture of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira and headlines which read: "Crafty as a monkey" and "Taubira gets her banana back".

The term "crafty as a monkey" in French can be used as praise while getting your banana back is roughly the equivalent of recovering the spring in your step.

But the provocative cover was also a reference to two other recent cases of Taubira being publicly likened to a monkey.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault registered a formal complaint with the Paris prosecutor over the magazine's contents.

The move triggered the opening of a preliminary investigation but, in light of France's strong tradition of freedom of expression, legal experts indicated there was little the government could do to prevent the 40,000 copies of the magazine that have been printed from reaching the public.