Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National (FN) in France, is known for her hard-line views on immigration and her strenuous defence of patriotic national identity.
Despite being still explicitly anti-Muslim, anti-multiculturalism, and anti-immigration, during the last electoral campaign, she has toned-down her words, trying to soften the party’s image and not to cross the line of what is perceived to be acceptable in the France of 2010s.
Marine Le Pen has also been very vocal against Islamic fundamentalism, often ending up stigmatising the Muslim community of France and fostering divisions among the society.
In December 2015, to prove her point against Islamic extremism, she went too far. On Twitter, she shared three photos of violence: one of the body of American journalist James Foley decapitated by ISIS fighters, one showed a tank running over a man in an orange jumpsuit, while the third photo depicted a jumpsuit-clad man being burned alive in a cage.
For this, she is facing charges of circulating “violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity”. The crime is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of €75,000 (£66,000).
The preliminary charges were made possible after the French parliament lifted her immunity from prosecution in the case late last year.
Not only Marine Le Pen has shared violent images that can be viewed by a minor, but she has also distributed terrorist material that can spread terror and therefore amplify the effect of jihadi propaganda.
With this possible outcome in mind, since 2014, a high number of news media in Europe, including Le Monde in France, have taken the editorial decision of not to republish images from ISIS propaganda documents. In 2016, French media such as La Croix and Europe 1 also stopped publishing photos and names of terrorists, as they can bestow “posthumous glorification”.