International

Protests staged across France against bill on police images

Demonstrators gather during a protest against bill on police images, in Paris on November 21, 2020. Thousands of people took to the streets in Paris and other French cities Saturday to protest a proposed security law they say would impinge on freedom of information and media rights. The board reads: Your guns against our cameras.   | Photo Credit: AP

Rights campaigners and journalists organizations staged street protests in Paris and other French cities on Saturday against a security bill that they say would be a violation of the freedom of information.

The proposed measure would create a new criminal offense of publishing images of police officers with intent to cause them harm.

The government says it is intended to protect police officers from online calls for violence. Critics fear that, if enacted, the measure would endanger journalists and other people who take videos of officers at work, especially during violent demonstrations.

Saturday’s protests were called by Reporters without Borders, Amnesty International France, the Human Rights League, journalists’ unions and other groups.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and France’s human rights ombudsman have also voiced concerns this week over risks that the measure would undermine fundamental rights.

In response to the criticism, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday an amendment to the measure in order to specify that it “won’t impede the freedom of information” and that it will focus only on images broadcast with “clear” intent to harm a police officer.

Offenders would face a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison and a 45,000-euro ($53,000) fine.

The proposed law is championed by lawmakers of President Emmanuel Macron’s party, which has a majority in the National Assembly.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on Tuesday on the bill, which also includes other security measures. It will then go to the Senate.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 9:54:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/protests-staged-across-france-against-bill-on-police-images/article33153272.ece

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