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Ligue 1 match temporarily stopped due to racist abuse

Friday's French Ligue 1 game between Dijon and Amiens was temporarily suspended after the visitors' captain Prince Gouano complained he was racially abused.

Ligue 1 match temporarily stopped due to racist abuse
Amiens defender Prince Desir Gouano (L) approaches the stands after hearing racist abuse. Photo: AFP

The game was stopped in the 78th minute as players from both sides headed towards the touchline of the Stade Gaston-Gerard after Gouano said he heard insults from behind the goal his side was defending.

Play was resumed following discussions between players, coaches and officials after which Gouano approached the stand by pointing toward supporters in the crowd.

“We are in the 21st century, it's unacceptable, I marked the incident by stopping play because these days we are all equal,” Gouano told French broadcaster BeIn Sport.

“Of course there are colours, but you have to rise above it. We are all human beings. The key word for me is love. You have to love the person next to you,” he added.

Paris-born Gouano stated in March his wish to represent the Ivory Coast.

“I didn't hear the chants but if there were of course we totally support the cause, like with Blaise Matuidi at Juventus, when he wanted to stop the match,” Dijon forward Benjamin Jeannot told BeIn Sport.

“I find it normal he wanted the game stopped, it's not easy to control, I deeply support him,” he added.

The incident comes after rising Italy star Moise Kean was targeted by racist abuse in Cagliari after he scored for Juve in Serie A earlier in the month.

Recent high-profile incidents, including monkey chants aimed at England players during a Euro 2020 qualifier away to Montenegro also highlighted the lingering problems within football.

English international Raheem Sterling rejected calls for players who are the targets of racial attacks to walk off the pitch, saying that winning matches is a more powerful statement to silence abusers.

The game finished goalless as both sides look to avoid relegation from the French top-flight.

READ ALSO: France's World Cup win can't hide underlying tensions over race and class

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COURT

French court orders Twitter to reveal anti-hate speech efforts

A French court has ordered Twitter to give activists full access to all its documents relating to efforts to combat racism, sexism and other forms of hate speech on the social network.

French court orders Twitter to reveal anti-hate speech efforts
Photo: Alastair Pike | AFP

Six anti-discrimination groups had taken Twitter to court in France last year, accusing the US social media giant of “long-term and persistent” failures in blocking hateful comments from the site.

The Paris court ordered Twitter to grant the campaign groups full access to all documents relating to the company’s efforts to combat hate speech since May 2020. The ruling applies to Twitter’s global operation, not just France.

Twitter must hand over “all administrative, contractual, technical or commercial documents” detailing the resources it has assigned to fighting homophobic, racist and sexist discourse on the site, as well as “condoning crimes against humanity”.

The San Francisco-based company was given two months to comply with the ruling, which also said it must reveal how many moderators it employs in France to examine posts flagged as hateful, and data on the posts they process.

The ruling was welcomed by the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF), one of the groups that had taken the social media giant to court.

“Twitter will finally have to take responsibility, stop equivocating and put ethics before profit and international expansion,” the UEJF said in a statement on its website.

Twitter’s hateful conduct policy bans users from promoting violence, or threatening or attacking people based on their race, religion, gender identity or disability, among other forms of discrimination.

Like other social media businesses it allows users to report posts they believe are hateful, and employs moderators to vet the content.

But anti-discrimination groups have long complained that holes in the policy allow hateful comments to stay online in many cases.

French prosecutors on Tuesday said they have opened an investigation into a wave of racist comments posted on Twitter aimed at members of the country’s national football team.

The comments, notably targeting Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, were posted after France was eliminated from the Euro 2020 tournament last week.

France has also been having a wider public debate over how to balance the right to free speech with preventing hate speech, in the wake of the controversial case of a teenager known as Mila.

The 18-year-old sparked a furore last year when her videos, criticising Islam in vulgar terms, went viral on social media.

Thirteen people are on trial accused of subjecting her to such vicious harassment that she was forced to leave school and was placed under police protection.

While President Emmanuel Macron is among those who have defended her right to blaspheme, left-wing critics say her original remarks amounted to hate speech against Muslims.

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