Working in cahoots with the state, French journalists are accused of indulging in anti-Muslim propaganda in the run-up to the country's presidential elections.

According to critics, French journalists, in coordination with the country's intelligence services, have produced a documentary targeting Muslims in the country.

Aired on Sunday evening, M6, a local French channel broadcast a report on its program "Forbidden Zone" titled: "Faced with the danger of radical Islam, the responses of the State".

One of the Muslims featured in the film, a young woman, Lilia Bouziane, said she was the victim of manipulation.

Bouziane said that she was ambushed by the show, which she believed would be about the views of young people towards secularism.

Instead, the law student in Lyon said the show had used selected quotes that aimed to affirm the state's narrative against Muslims.

In an impassioned video on social media, Bouziane says, "women have been silent for too long. Today, Lilia Bouziane, a Muslim and French woman, will not be silent, and I will not let this kind of thing go. I have been betrayed and manipulated by journalists of Forbidden Zone."

One former French minister seeing Bouziane on TV following the airing of the show said, "She does not want to take off her hijab and wants to become a lawyer. It's simple, let her go and live in a Muslim state…!"

Flagrant Islamophobic speech in France has become the norm in recent years, often couched in the language of secularism.

One critic of the former minister ridiculed the comment saying, "there is no incompatibility between being a professional lawyer and wearing the veil."

The report on "Forbidden Zone" sought to frame Muslim shops and organisations set up by Muslims to facilitate their religious practice and the transmission of it to their children as something dangerous and a form of radical Islam.

The journalists of Forbidden Zone sought to create the impression that certain innocuous practises specific to Muslims, which the show considered "extreme", consisted of activities like teaching the Quran to children or wearing the long veil by women.

Throughout the programme, the journalist sought to demonstrate how Muslims in France tried, by all means, to circumvent the republican laws and the framework of secularism in France.

One human rights defender said that following the broadcast by "Forbidden Zone", the French State "decided to close these shops because they sell Islamic outfits, eyeless dolls and religious books! #SeparatismLaw has consequences on Muslims freedoms."

A left-leaning politician in France was also scathing of the TV report accusing the country's right-wing interior minister Gerald Darmanin of playing politics with Muslims in the run-up to the presidential elections to be held in April.

"Three months before the presidential elections, the report by #ZoneInterdite on M6 in Roubaix is a gutter report, insulting and dishonest. We already know the beneficiary of this propaganda: the minister of the Interior," said the left-leaning politician.

One of France's most far-right, racist and Islamophobic politicians and presidential candidate, Eric Zemmour, referred to the Muslim communities that appeared on the show as "Afghanistan two hours from Paris."

A French court recently found Zemmour guilty of racist hate speech for a televised tirade against unaccompanied child migrants in September 2020.

Zemmour has "normalised extreme far-right rhetoric in the mainstream which is no longer confined to the fringes of French society," a human rights defender recently told TRT World.

Recently a study in France revealed a strong tendency by the country's media to give far-right voices airtime and amplify their fringe views.

The study went on to add that the right and the extreme right parties and voices are overrepresented in the country's media outlets.

Source: TRT World