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Ridiculous French laws met with ridiculous French news stories.

Ridiculous French laws met with ridiculous French news stories.

The French have their own presidential election on Sunday. Aside from their list of candidates, which would make many Americans feel relieved in comparison, the French have topped the US in media-related constraints. Until the last polling station closes at 8 p.m., French law forbids the release of polls and preliminary results to avoid influencing voters and “uphold fair play.”

Naturally, the French have had to find a way around this:

French media have traditionally abided by the rule. During the last French presidential election, in 2007, Swiss and Belgian media leaked early results, but their websites were immediately bogged down by an onslaught of impatient French citizens.

Earlier this week, the Paris prosecutor issued a statement to remind everybody of the law, although his message exceeded the Twitter limit of 140 characters. “By virtue of the clauses of article 11 of the law number 77-808 of July 19 1977 (modified by the law 2002-214 of February 19 2002), any form of publication, broadcast, poll commentary, by any means is forbidden,” the prosecutor said….

On Friday, rebellious Internet bloggers began laying the foundations of subversion by developing codes to circumvent the ban on publishing results before it is time.

So, if your French friend tweets “the Netherlands are beating Hungary at half time,” he may actually mean that Socialist Party candidate François Hollande has emerged from the first round of the election with a lead on French President Nicolas Sarkozy—who has Hungarian roots.

There’s more of the spoof here at Le Monde. 

If the US had to use euphemisms for each candidate, what would they be?


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Even my euphemism for Obama are unprintable in a family-friendly blog.

“Kenya is tied with Polymorph at halftime”.

The Hungry Flea is in the dog house. The Hungry Flea is in the dog house. Frontline is on the roof preparing to Raid.

“Dog-on-Roof ahead of Dog-on-Roof-of-Mouth”

“The French have their own presidential election on Sunday”

I would imagine that there are a few things worse, then voting with one’s tongue out, huh?

The Flat Earth Society is flattening the O at the polls.

Timmy take Lasdie for a walk.

Timmy take Lassie for a walk.

“My Three Sons” edges out Pryor in TV ratings.

BannedbytheGuardian | April 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm

I quite like the French system. There are several rounds & a fun range of choices first up.

Unlike the time lag that can see the US election decided before the west coast votes (maybe a good thing!) – overseas territories & consulates/expats vote on the Saturday.before the Sunday .

Several countries ban all election communications 48 hours prior to the opening of polls.

The idea of code words is fine until you realise that neighbouring countries speak french dialects . Quite likely a complete different interpretation on the receiving end all round.

BannedbytheGuardian | April 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm

BTW Kathleen -it does your baby international cred no good – calling other election laws -“ridiculous”.

FGS give up those incestuous intern /sponsor/foundation placements & get a real job in the real world preferably a global org.

    While I believe Kathleen is perfectly capable of defending herself, she probably has the courtesy no to dignify your comment with an answer. I don’t.

    First of all, a grossly unenforceable and unobserved law is a ridiculous law. The French government attempt to appoint 10 people to watch over Twitter seems about as quixotic as the Polish cavalry charging against German tanks. There are valid reasons to be careful about mocking laws that may hold the wisdom of jurisprudence, but this type of technocratic law is clearly not one of them.

    Second, how accomplished were you at 22? I’m sure Kathleen will have a brilliant careers and I doubt she needs the guidance of a jerk who sits at home to comment on blogs.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | April 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    That does seem like an unnecesarily personal attack on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

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