This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of May, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 23 June 2018
Media outlet: On n’est pas couché, talk show broadcast on France 2
Author: Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, leader of the right-wing political party Debout la France (“France Arise”). At the last elections, the party was allied with the Front National of the extreme-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen
Description of the anti-migrant and anti-Muslim content: Following France’s offer to take in migrants from the Aquarius rescue ship, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan is interviewed about the country’s migration policy. He states that France is being religiously colonised by migrants, economically colonised by the US and China, and politically colonised by Brussels and the EU. He also claims that France spends billions of Euros on welcoming migrants which is putting demands on housing benefits and health care. When Dupont-Aignan is talking about migrants religiously colonising France, he is not talking about Spaniards or Brits. Without saying it explicitly, he is talking about Muslim people.
Myth debunked: Dupont-Aignan chose to use the word “colonised” when referring to migrants living in France. This is not just paradoxical, but also offensive. Up until 60 years ago, France was one of the biggest colonial powers in the world and controlled, among other regions, most of North Africa. A million European settlers moved to Algeria, where a brutal War of Independence (1954–1962) left about 1.5 million Algerians dead. Under colonial rule, assimilation to French culture and language was an underlying policy. Furthermore, in 2016, a total of 256,000 migrants arrived in France. Of this, 78.000 were refugees and asylum seekers, while most immigrants arrived on a family reunification or work visa. How can Dupont-Aignan blame migrants for putting a strain on the welfare system when most of them come to work?
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