Facebook has blocked a dying Frenchman from livestreaming his own death on the social media platform. Alain Cocq, 57, who had planned to broadcast his final days in the wake of an incurable condition, had started to refuse to take medications as well as any food or drink on Saturday.
Cocq had earlier written a petition requesting French President Emmanuel Macron to allow him to pass on through a medically assisted death as he described his "extremely violent suffering." However, the president denied his petition. France considers euthanasia illegal but with the Claeys-Leonetti law, modified in 2016 - this grants the right to terminally ill patients to be heavily sedated until death. However the law only applies under specific circumstances such as if death is imminent. It is also a widely known fact that the Catholic church along with other groups are opposed to euthanasia on the basis of moral grounds.
In a bid to raise his voice for a change in the current law in France that would allow terminally ill people to die in the manner they wish to do so, Cocq had taken to social media to document his process of ending his own life to show his agony online "so that people know what the end of life is like in France."
He made it clear to his audience that he has no plans of upsetting his viewers. Hence, the video will broadcast without sound and the camera will stop rolling soon after he takes his last breath.
After announcing that he had "finished his last meal" while laying in bed at his home in Dijon, Cocq posted on Facebook:
"The road to deliverance begins and believe me, I am happy."
"I know the days ahead are going to be difficult but I have made my decision and I am calm," he added.
While raising a plastic cup, he looks at the camera and said:
"Well, my friends, I'll drink to your health one last time."
In his livestream on Facebook past midnight on September 5, Cocq announced that he would cease any medication, food or liquid intake starting Friday night while broadcasting the entire process. He said he expects to die within two to five days. However, Facebook immediately took down the broadcast.
Addressing his more than 22,000 followers and 4,000 Facebook friends after the failed livestream, Cocq announced that Facebook had blocked him from live broadcasts until September 8. He said he plans to find another solution as he rallied his supporters to lobby the social media platform to change its stance and decision.
According to an article on France24.com, a spokesperson from Facebook France said :
"Although we respect Mr Cocq's decision to want to draw attention to this complex question, following expert advice we have taken measures to prevent the live broadcast on Alain's account."
"Our rules do not allow us to show suicide attempts," he added.
Cocq suffers from an extremely rare and painful terminal condition that causes his arteries to stick together. He says that he has been living through the terminal stages of his sickness over the last 34 years.
President Macron expressed his sentiments for Cocq, and wrote him back responding that he was "moved" by his letter. However, he said, "because I am not situated above the law, I cannot grant you your request."