Exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King were filmed by bystander, George Holliday, the French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalises the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to up to five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 (£51,000) for eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of websites publishing the images.
The law, proposed by Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy, is intended to clamp down on a wide range of public order offences - and is aimed at the practice of ‘happy slapping’ - but is drafted so broadly as to criminalise the activities of citizen journalists unrelated to the perpetrators of violent acts. This, according to Pascal Cohet, a spokesman for French online civil liberties group Odebi, is not accidental but a deliberate decision by the authorities. He is concerned that this 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 websites, blog hosts, mobile-phone operators and internet service providers, identifying them as government-approved sources of information if they adhere to certain rules. Press freedom campaigners, Reporters Without Borders, has warned that such a system could lead to excessive self censorship as organisations worried about losing their certification suppress certain stories.
if the law is aimed at happy slapping then aim better and hit the bullseye. why paint it so broad that it covers everything. you think their government saw an opportunity to get rid of something that has been troubling all governments since people started to own hand held video cameras. do you think our government would love to have banned this before kennedy was shot or rodney king got whooped. dont worry america...you wont fall behind. this right will be taken from you here soon. why not, our rights are disappearing faster and faster every day. i would love to see what the certification for websites is. i'll bet you cant show alot of things.....not just happy slapping.
get back to work