Stop la presse!

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By Courtney Cochran

In a move that can only signal the further withering of France's reputation as the homeland of the bon vivant, a Paris-area court recently ruled that newspaper articles promoting wine should include the same terse health warnings that appear on alcohol advertisements.  This comes on the heels of strict new laws in France that levy severe penalties on drivers who've been drinking.  

For many years, getting behind the wheel after a couple  - or more - glasses of good wine was commonplace for many French.  And while I've heard lots of grumblings from folks over there about these changes (which in spite of their inconvenience are a good thing for public safety), the government's more recent interference in beverage reporting is truly shocking.  At the center of the controversy is a 2005 article in Le Parisien that the court claims was 'intended to promote sales of alcoholic beverages in exercising a psychological effect on the reader that incited him or her to buy alcohol.'  Le Parisien countered that its piece was 'purely editorial'. 

As a journalist, Francophile and wine lover, I'm utterly disgusted by the ruling.  What’s next - outlawing French Fries?!  Woops, guess that bad move's already been made.


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