In December 2018, the centrist francophone Belgian daily La Libre Belgique and its sister publication DH published a video from the so-called “March Against Marrakech” on their websites. This video features extreme-right protesters shouting anti-Muslim hate and threatening violence. Disturbingly, no editorial explanation contextualising the video and the decision to publish it was present alongside the footage itself.
On 17th December, Francophone Belgian website 7sur7 reported that Toblerone chocolate received its halal certification in April 2018. The article’s sensationalist title – “What you probably did not know about Toblerone” – implies that the owner of the brand, the US food group Mondelez, is involved in a secret conspiracy to please Muslim buyers to the detriment of others. Although Toblerone’s recipe had not actually changed, the article maintains this accusatory tone by using words that imply conspiracy, like “in all discretion” and “did not want to reveal”.
The front cover of the latest issue of Paris Match, a leading news and entertainment weekly, used a photo of Hervé Lalin, known as “Hervé Ryssen”, to represent the gilets jaunes protests sweeping across France. A self-described ‘racist’ and ‘anti-Semite’, Ryssens is a convicted criminal and member of National Republican Movement – an extreme-right party that split from Marine Le Pen’s National Front in 1999. Shockingly, Paris Match does not identify him as such.
On November 15th British populist news outlet Politicalite published an article titled: “Opinion: If We Want To Stop Child Abuse, We Need To BAN Immigration From Pakistan.” The piece was authored by Councillor Ryan Macpherson, who is an independent councillor on Ashford Borough Council in Kent. The article focusses on child abuse in Pakistan, mainly of street children, and claims that due to high levels of child abuse in the country, Pakistani’s (mainly men) should not be allowed into the UK. The article has both xenophobic and Islamophobic undertones.
Le Vif, the leading weekly magazine of francophone Belgium, republished an article titled ‘Macron in Molenbeek’ on its website. This article focuses on the roundtable attended by the Macrons, the queen and king of Belgium with various residents of the area. While most participants are identified by their profession, the article describes one as "a young veiled woman."