France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence

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. Anyone publishing footage of violent crimes 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. The law, proposed by Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy, is an attempt to stop 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, 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 Pascal Cohet, a spokesman for French online civil liberties group Odebi. 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.

News source: Yahoo! News

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Interesting I dont think the law is that bad of an idea. Now some people mentioned for filming for evidence and i dont think there is any problem but as it points out journalists as the main part of this i thinks it more about putting it out on the net and stuff. They wana restrict violence in media to the 'proffessional' news and hollywood. If its enforced properly it should be fine. Plus how many laws are broken every day that people get away with.

What I'm wondering is why is this on Neowin, and has Neowin simply become a gossip posting site? Seems all the front page stories on Neowin now are mainly to do with some "scandal" related to Vista, Wikipedia, Google etc. What ever happened to actually reporting some genuine tech news - or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

I don't have time to research that. But if that criterion is not present in the lower chamber's version of the bill (l'Assemblée Nationale), the higher chamber of the parliament (le Sénat) will add it in order to prevent the bill from being censored by the Constitutional Council. Anyways it seems to me the bill was debated more than 2 weeks ago and was finalized by the Senate at the end of February, so the Anglophone press is pretty late in picking up topics of interest coming from other countries.

Besides our country has a strong parliamentary opposition, unlike the Democrats who wag their tails but don't bark! So I wouldn't worry about our democracy too much.

Thats nice of you to tell us all we don't know anything about France.

parelevous francais texasjoe?

Odd why you are called texasjoe.

Why not zuit allors y'all?

leesmithg said,
Thats nice of you to tell us all we don't know anything about France.

Because you and most others here probably don't.

I did not say you all didn't know anything about France. I was talking to the person who said I was talking out of my ass.

Et bien sûr je parle français et je l'enseigne aux Etats-Unis depuis 1 an.
I do speak French and I've been teaching it in New York for almost a year.

J'ai pris le surnom de texasjoe car j'y suis allé plusieurs fois et c'est un Etat que j'apprécie beaucoup.
I chose texasjoe as my nickname because I took several trips to Texas and that's a place I really enjoyed.

texasjoe
Et bien s�r je parle fran�ais et je l'enseigne aux Etats-Unis depuis 1 an.
I do speak French and I've been teaching it in New York for almost a year.

Do you mean U.S. or New York? :)

J'ai pris le surnom de texasjoe car j'y suis all� plusieurs fois et c'est un Etat que j'appr�cie beaucoup.
I chose texasjoe as my nickname because I took several trips to Texas and that's a place I really enjoyed.

Is it a state that you like a lot? or Texas that you like a lot? :)

Anyway, crap law. Maybe the 'happy slappers' should be televised live on a happy slapping channel (patent pending :)) by competition winners who can come on and beat the hell out of them. The winner is the last one to loose a tooth/teeth.

^_^ Silly Willy said,

Because you and most others here probably don't.

France is my neighbour.

I have French blood.

I have lived in France.

If my fiance would allow, I would like to move there permantely.

Viva la France!

Least the French know where England is, in a survey 79% of American thought England was a state in the Middle East.

I mean upstate New York (Elmira/Corning area).
Texas is a state that I like a lot for the people are very welcoming and curious of other cultures, unlike popular Yankee thought. Texans are very open, especially in Dallas and Austin. I can't talk for all Texans though. I only visited/stayed in the Western part of the state: Lubock, Big D, Austin, San Antone, Amarillo. I also spent a semester in Oklahoma.
I can't say as much for New Yorkers though as far as their openness.

leesmithg said,
Least the French know where England is, in a survey 79% of American thought England was a state in the Middle East.


Well DUH, everyone knows England is the 51st state in the Union! :P

leesmithg said,

France is my neighbour.

I have French blood.

I have lived in France.

If my fiance would allow, I would like to move there permantely.

Viva la France!

Least the French know where England is, in a survey 79% of American thought England was a state in the Middle East.

LOL
My friend and I were walking in downtown Toronto (Canada) in the middle of summer when a car with Texas plates and a ski rack pulled up to us, the guy driving then asked us "Where's the snow"? -True story

This article is completely one-sided and aims only at more French bashing. Civil liberties groups will always find potential loopholes in a law and will try to pervert the spirit of the law, claiming that the loophole was what the author originally intended. This is very common of libertarians who'd wish no law were voted anymore. Let me remind you that the French judicial system is very lax and French judges are not clapping monkeys: there are no automatic convictions in France. Besides only 40% of those sentenced to jailtime end up serving their term: because of the yearly rebates offered to French inmates, some end up completely exonerated before they do any time.
In conclusion the author is a libertarian activist who would have criticized any law making any immoral act a crime: rape, racial discrimination... because of potential loopholes.
The purpose of this law here is to deter gratuitous assaults in schools whose sole purpose is filming and broadcasting the assault. Now the person filming, previously an accessory before the crime (facing a lesser penalty), will face the same penalty as the assailant. The law hopes to deter the very commission of the assault by making it clear that filming it is equally serious to doing it and if there's nobody to film it anymore - usually a coward - maybe the assaults will stop.
Now think a little bit further before you submit posts and be more investigative!

I'm French and member of a political party. So I can read primary/original sources in French, unlike you who don't know anything about France.

The purpose of the law may be one thing, but are you quite sure that it can't be used for anything else?

Just because someone may challenge the over-use of a law at great expense (both monetary and time-wise) to themselves (i.e. they can challenge it IF they have the money and time) doesn't mean that the law should be passed to suit one narrow interpretation.

AresXP said,
I don't get it. If it's in public, why the hell not film it?


I bet the E.U. are something to do with this.

Big Brother? Sniff Sniff!

Although I don't agree with the ban, I guess there is some sort of reasonable logic behind this. Those videos hit the internet and the TV. People don't go to the police or something. Videos like that can ultimately harm the police, the government, or whatever institution there is to harm.. and in the end, that's not good.

There have been a serie of 'happy slapping' recently in France that peaked with the agression of a teacher by a student and a classmate filmed the beating with his cell phone.

The same in Spain. They have banned all mobile phones in madrid's schools, and those who film violent stuff happening in schools are going to be expelled. But that's because, those videos are published on youtube first, instead of going straight to the police, or something.

so if i see someone getting beaten up on the streets and use a mobile phone to film it as evidence i'm breaking the law and could face prison? what about private security cams filming violence? really stupid law

When I first read this, I thought they were banning amateur videos of, say, police violence. That was the first thing that popped into my head.

Which brings the question: is this a violation of protection of free speech?

AutonomousMachete said,
Which brings the question: is this a violation of protection of free speech?

Yoohoo!!

U.S. laws this way! <---

French laws that way! --->

Just because you read it (or heard about it) in our US Constitution doesn't make it applicable to other countries, contrary to popular belief. They may not have ANY law that protects citizens from a 'freedom of speech violation' by their government.

Good in theory.

Bad in practice.

Anyone remember the train crash where the best picture was a camphone pic from the inside? Similar idea here.