France has been burning continuously for the last six days. This came after the teenager Nahel, of Algerian descent, was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. President Emmanuel Macron held a high-level meeting on July 3 with parliament ministers in response to the crisis.
Amid this unrest, a press release purportedly issued by the French Ministry of the Interior and the overseas is doing round on social media, claiming a partial ban on the internet in the country. The press release mentioned that the restriction on the internet was imposed to curb the misuse of social media and online platform to coordinate illegal actions and incite violence.
The statement reads in English, "The Ministry of the Interior would like to inform the population of the exceptional measures put in place to ensure public security and tranquillity in the context of the recent riots. As part of our commitment to maintain order and stability in the affected areas, additional measures have been decided to prevent any form of violence and disturbance.
From July 3 and for a fixed period, temporary restrictions will be applied to Internet access in certain specific neighbourhoods during night hours. These restrictions aim to prevent the misuse of social media and online platforms to coordinate illegal actions and incite violence.
It is important to note that these restrictions are not put in place to restrict the fundamental freedoms of citizens, but rather in order to preserve their safety as well as that of their property. In addition, the measures will not affect essential services, such as hospitals, emergency services and critical infrastructure.
In addition, we would like to reassure the population that the telephone services, which make it possible to reach loved ones or contact medical teams if necessary, will operate normally. Mobile and landline operators will continue to operate their services without interruption, to ensure the availability of essential communications at all times."
Press Release (Translated text)
A Twitter user shared this press release and wrote, "Unrest in France is a reminder that mistreatment of minorities and institutionalized racial discrimination are endemic in self-proclaimed liberal democracies that lecture non-Western democracies on civil rights. After mass arrests, France suspends internet service in some areas."
Another user wrote, "France is planning a shutdown of the nation's internet in an attempt to stop the world from seeing what invaders are doing to the nation."
It is being widely shared on Facebook and Twitter with a similar claim.
France imposed a partial ban on the internet to curb the misuse of social media to coordinate illegal actions and incite violence.
The Logical Indian fact-check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. The Foreign Affairs Ministry of France refuted the viral claim.
During the initial investigation, we did not find any information or press release regarding the internet shutdown on the French government's official website.
We observed the viral press release carefully and found that the letter was attributed to the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas. Taking a hint from it, we scanned the Twitter profiles and came across a tweet from Ministère de l'Intérieur et des Outre-mer (Ministry of the Interior and Overseas) dated July 2, 2023, in which they refuted the viral claim. The caption of the tweet reads in English, "A press release from @PoliceNational would announce temporary restrictions on internet access in certain districts. This document is FALSE: no decision has been made in this regard."
On searching more, we also found a tweet by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs dated July 3, in which they have called out the viral document false.
"#UrbanViolence | Beware of #FakeNews. A “press release” from the French national police force @PoliceNationale has claimed that temporary restrictions have been imposed on Internet access in certain neighbourhoods. This document is FALSE: no such decision has been taken," read the Twitter post.
Our investigation shows that the viral press release is false and has not been issued by France's Ministry of the Interior and overseas. France's government has not imposed a shutdown of internet services in the country so far. Hence, the viral claim is false.
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