First came the videos, half a dozen graphic spots re-enacting "real life" racist and anti-Semitic acts. Then giant posters appeared along roads and transportation hubs literally offering a black-and-white message about workplace discrimination.
A year after France’s leftist government announced a three-year, $115 million plan to fight racism and anti-Semitism, a pair of national publicity campaigns are taking aim at the issue.
“We had no choice but to act very thoroughly and effectively against increased threats,” notably far-right hate speech and virulent anti-Semitism from a “tiny minority” of radical Muslims, says Gilles Clavreul of DILCRA, an inter-ministerial office that works to counter racism and anti-Semitism in France.
The government plan includes an array of proposals, from deepening sanctions and the Internet fight against hate speech, to launching school and citizen education programs.
Despite an overall increase in hate acts last year, Clavreul cites signs of progress. New figures in May show what he calls a "significant" drop in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim acts.
A report released by France’s National Consultative Commission of Human Rights also finds an increase in French tolerance of diversity, even after a year bracketed by two Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris.