16 November 2020
"A new French security bill proposes to forbid the dissemination for “malicious purposes” of images of police officers doing their jobs. Supporters of the legislation say it would protect officers from malevolent personal attacks using social media. Detractors say it threatens to make it harder for journalists and NGOs to report on police wrongdoing."
"Article 24 of France’s new security bill would create a new criminal offence – punishable with one year in prison and a €45,000 fine – in the dissemination of images aimed at “harming the physical or mental integrity” of police officers.
This clause was first proposed by Jean-Michel Fauvergue, an MP for President Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche (LREM) party, after police union Alliance had long lobbied for it.
However, some critics of the proposed new law claim that it could have unintended consequences. On November 8, some 30 members of France’s Society of Journalists published an open letter denouncing what they regard as a “threat to the freedom to report”.
In an another open letter, some 800 filmmakers and photographers argued that the proposed law is tantamount to “censorship”, saying that – if it had been in place at that point – a notable documentary on police violence, “Un pays qui se tient sage” (“A Wise Country”) filmed during the 2018-19 Yellow Vest protests and riots, and could not have been broadcast."
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