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Have the French taken leave of their senses?

By deepsand ·
PC World

France Bans Laypeople From Reporting Violence

New French law says that only professional journalists can film or broadcast acts of violence.

Peter Sayer, IDG News Service
Tuesday, March 06, 2007 08:00 AM GMT-08:00

The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.

The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George Holliday in the night of March 3, 19**. The officers' acquittal at the end on April 29, 1992 sparked riots in Los Angeles.

If Holliday were to film a similar scene of violence in France today, he could end up in prison as a result of the new law, said Pascal Cohet, a spokesman for French online civil liberties group Odebi. And anyone publishing such images could face up to five years in prison and a fine of ?75,000 (US$98,537), potentially a harsher sentence than that for committing the violent act.

Senators and members of the National Assembly had asked the council to rule on the constitutionality of six articles of the Law relating to the prevention of delinquency. The articles dealt with information sharing by social workers, and reduced sentences for minors. The council recommended one minor change, to reconcile conflicting amendments voted in parliament.

The law, proposed by Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy, is intended to clamp down on a wide range of public order offenses. During parliamentary debate of the law, government representatives said the offense of filming or distributing films of acts of violence targets the practice of "happy slapping," in which a violent attack is filmed by an accomplice, typically with a camera phone, for the amusement of the attacker's friends.

The broad drafting of the law so as to criminalize the activities of citizen journalists unrelated to the perpetrators of violent acts is no accident, but rather a deliberate decision by the authorities, said Cohet. He is concerned that the law, and others still being debated, will lead to the creation of a parallel judicial system controlling the publication of information on the Internet.

The government has also proposed a certification system for Web sites, blog hosters, mobile-phone operators and Internet service providers, identifying them as government-approved sources of information if they adhere to certain rules. The journalists' organization Reporters Without Borders, which campaigns for a free press, has warned that such a system could lead to excessive self censorship as organizations worried about losing their certification suppress certain stories.

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Your false assumption

by maxwell edison In reply to Have the French taken lea ...

The French had senses to begin with.

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I chose to be generous, by allowing that ...

by deepsand In reply to Your false assumption

there may be some as yet undiscovered.

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More than the US and UK have...

by NOW LEFT TR In reply to I chose to be generous, b ...

by NOT going to war based on false information!

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You get extra points for that one!

by deepsand In reply to More than the US and UK h ...


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They has a sense of smell, but

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Your false assumption

it atrophied from over use of garlic.

Hmmm that wasn't very PC of me was it?

I've met a lot of very nice french people, en mass governmentally they've been a mess forever though. They are a good living example of what can happen if you go down the PC / nanny state route to far and should be used as such.

The polarisation of the population is making both sides extreme, so you have Le Pen and his fascists on one side and the current berks on the other.

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What would you expect from a nation that....................

by sleepin'dawg In reply to Have the French taken lea ...

considers Jerry Lewis a cultural icon.

Dawg ]:)

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Well I can see what they were aiming

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Have the French taken lea ...

to do, as usual the legislature misses by inventing more law instead of making the ones they have work though.

The french have a really bad habit of strapping themselves up with red tape, almost as though they were into bureaucratic bondage.

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I wonder if this means that it's ok if ...

by deepsand In reply to Well I can see what they ...

you slap someone without having it recorded, or if you hire a professional "journalist" to do the recording?

After all, if the slap constitutes battery, why not simply target that offense? And, if the problem with prosecuting the batterer is a lack of evidence, why ban a potential source of such?

Very ***** indeed.

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Gangs in the UK

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to I wonder if this means th ...

are filming initiations, threats etc and posting them on myspace and youtube et al.
Sort of like wearing colours, bragging etc.
Not very nice I know, but why an extra law is needed is beyond me.
There are plenty of laws (too many in my opinion) covering the legality of the actions they have video'd so why does filming and posting need to be seen as a separate crime.

What sort of pratt would would film themselves breaking the law and then send it it indirectly to the police anyway, these people are too stupid to rate this much effort.

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