Proposed regulation on publishing police photographs sparks protests throughout France

Thousands of people took to the streets in Paris and other French cities Saturday on the urging of civil liberties campaigners and journalist teams to protest a proposed safety regulation they are saying would impinge on freedom of data and media rights.

Pending laws in France’s parliament would create a new prison offence for publishing photographs of law enforcement officials with intent to trigger them hurt. Offenders would face a most penalty of as much as one yr in jail and a €45,000 high-quality (about $69,000 Cdn).

The government mentioned the proposal is meant to guard law enforcement officials from on-line requires violence. Critics concern that, if enacted, the measure would endanger journalists and other observers who take movies of officers at work, particularly throughout violent demonstrations.

In Paris, a number of thousand demonstrators gathered on the Trocadero sq. close to the Eiffel Tower, chanting “Freedom, freedom” and “Everyone wants to film the police.”

Police used water cannons to disperse the gang as minor scuffles broke out on the finish of the demonstration. Paris police mentioned 23 people had been detained and an officer was barely injured.

Reporters with out Borders, Amnesty International France, the Human Rights League, journalists’ unions and other teams inspired people to attend the protest. The crowd included many journalists and college students.

“We are not here to defend a privilege of our profession, press freedom and journalists’ freedom,” Edwy Plenel, co-founder and editor of investigative web site Mediapart, mentioned. “We are here to defend fundamental rights, the rights of all people.”

Some members of the anti-government yellow vest motion additionally joined the demonstration.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and France’s human rights ombudsman have additionally voiced issues that the new provision might undermine elementary rights.

PM’s modification announcement not sufficient, critic says

In response to the criticism, Prime Minister Jean Castex mentioned Thursday that the measure could be amended to specify that it “won’t impede the freedom of information” and that it will focus solely on photographs broadcast with “clear” intent to hurt a police officer.

Emmanuel Poupard, secretary basic of the National Journalists Union, mentioned Saturday that he thinks the new modification “doesn’t change anything.”

The police picture regulation “has only one goal: to boost the sense of impunity of law enforcement officers and make invisible police brutality,” he mentioned.

French gendarmes stand in entrance of the Eiffel Tower to forestall protesters from approaching the monument. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Protesters argue that recording officers in motion is crucial to having the ability to condemn and curb the actions of violent officers. They additionally fear how courts would decide whether or not photographs had been posted with intent to hurt.

In July, three French law enforcement officials had been charged with manslaughter over the loss of life of a supply man, Cedric Chouviat, that bystanders caught on video. Chouviat’s loss of life had similarities with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked outrage around the globe and a collection of Black Lives Matter demonstrations in France.

The proposed regulation is championed by lawmakers from President Emmanuel Macron’s get together, which has a majority within the National Assembly.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Tuesday on the invoice, which additionally contains other safety measures. It will then go to the Senate.

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