The prime minister François Legault
6 June 2020 16h42
Updated at 17h34
Outcry against Legault, who has blocked a journalist on Twitter
François Legault has blocked a journalist from the montreal newspaper “The Gazette” on Twitter. The social network has ignited. And the prime minister has declined.
The journalist Aaron Derfel, who had written on the deplorable situation of the CHSLD Herron Dorval during the pandemic.
In a publication on Twitter, the journalist specialized in health indicates that he comes to see that the prime minister has blocked the access to his account. He accompanied his message with the hashtag #FreedomOfThePress (#Libertédepresse).
The news quickly spread on the social network. Mr. Legault has also responded to another journalist, always on Twitter, saying : “When a “journalist” me to “tag” more than 10 times on Twitter, saying that I lie…”
The quotation marks around the word journalist certainly did respond to the users, not only the colleagues journalists of Aaron Derfel.
“We’re talking about a journalist ultra credible that covers the field of health. And I don’t see where he accused the prime minister of being a liar,” said the president of the Fédération professionnelle des journalists du Québec (FPJQ), Michael Nguyen, in an interview with The Sun.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Legault had pointed to Aaron Delfel in the press conference, suggesting that he had “a certain responsibility” for the fears to possibly the highest of the English towards the plan déconfinement of his government.
“It’s a little discouraging to see that. Instead of attacking the journalists, it should bring answers. What scares me is that it has not reassured the English, whom he represents as prime minister. […] Put quotes, it is to denigrate the profession. Whereas three months ago, he thanked us and said that it was of essential workers,” adds Michaël Nguyen.
Just discovered First @francoislegault has blocked me on Twitter. Was it after I wrote my latest story on the lack of a comprehensive cancer plan during the #pandemic? Was it earlier I don’t know. Glad Health @MinistreMcCann hasn t. #FreedomOfThePress https://t.co/KRGc2zrwii
— Aaron Derfel (@Aaron_Derfel) June 6, 2020
A personal attack
During the election campaign that brought him to power, François Legault had already gained the reputation of easily block users on its accounts on Facebook or Twitter. Professor of human rights and freedoms at the University of Laval, Louis-Philippe Lampron, was expressed on the subject.
“From the moment a elected made the choice to use social networks to reach the public, it can not block the access to those who criticize or question. And when we talk about being a journalist, it seems to me a violation of the right of access to information”, he explains.
The professor obviously says that if it is a question of threats or attacks against his person, the politician can keep the right to block users. However, in the case of the journalist Aaron Delfel, it is not a question of threats. “There was not even sufficient grounds to block it, even if it had not been a journalist.”
Twitter is a platform that has the vocation to provide for an exchange of ideas and opinions. According to the specialist in human rights and freedoms, François Legault cannot take advantage of the benefits that the platform offers (such as being a advertising tool) and to exclude those who do not agree with him.
“What threw me into the bottom of my chair, it is the response of the prime minister. The quotation marks around the word journalist. It is extremely dangerous. I understand that it can be unpleasant, a journalist who does not loose his bone, but it’s part of the job. If it starts to take on the entirety of the journalist, it was not completed. The slippery slope can take us to a skid.”
Louis-Philippe Lampron judge that François Legault should apologize.
“This is unacceptable. It is a personal attack and a total error. In my opinion, it deserves an apology from the prime minister”, he concludes.
Later in the day on Saturday, Aaron Derfel announced that François Legault had once again granted access to its Twitter account. It has, among others, thanked for encouraging the freedom of the press. This “release” seems, however, occur after the lifting of shields of the internet users.
READ ALSO : François Legault, the ace of the blocking on Twitter?
When a “journalist” me to “tag” more than 10 times on Twitter, saying that I lie…
— François Legault (@francoislegault) June 6, 2020