Why France's Front National loathes freedom of the press

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Marine Le Pen claims she is trying to make the far-right Front National more 'normal', a strategy that has perhaps contributed to her party surging ahead in opinion polls. One survey suggests that Le Pen would come top if the first round of voting in a presidential election were held today, whoever her main opponent. But behind the attempts to 'de-demonize' the FN lurks another reality – that of a party that still refuses to abide by democratic rules. Last weekend Mediapart's reporter was ejected from the party's youth conference, and this was not the first time this has occurred. Nor is it just Mediapart which is targeted – other media outlets and also academics have found themselves ostracised by a party which seems to fear the freedom of the press.

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The far-right Front National (FN) has been trying to 'de-demonize' its image in recent years, with its president Marine Le Pen seeking to make it a more 'normal' political party. Those efforts appear to have been rewarded, with a recent poll suggesting that Le Pen would come top in the first round of voting in a presidential election held now, no matter who her opponents were. Yet despite these attempts to change its appearance, the far-right party still seems to have a problem with the democratic system. And in particular with the freedom of the press.