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France outlaws news

Postby RugbyD » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:40 pm

seriously, is anyone surprised? i guess if my country's national pasttime was setting cars on fire, i'd want to minimize its coverage too.

http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/03/06 ... /index.php

France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence
By Peter Sayer, IDG News Service

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 on the night of March 3, 1991. 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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Postby Half Massed » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:47 pm

What's next? The French government takes control of major media outlets? It's never a good sign when a government bans something that could be used as a check on it.
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Postby Art Vandelay » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:54 pm

Meanwhile, the US government is doing the exact same thing (only without actually passing legislation to make it illegal).
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Postby JTWood » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:02 am

Seriously, does anyone in this country like France? Does anyone here care that they don't like us? Why aren't we at war with them? It certainly would have been over long ago, and we'd have good, cheap wine to go with our really tall paper skewer to put on the desk.
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Postby JTWood » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:11 am

ps - Happy 4K, Rugby. ;-D
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Postby knapplc » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:14 am

JTWood wrote:Seriously, does anyone in this country like France? Does anyone here care that they don't like us? Why aren't we at war with them? It certainly would have been over long ago, and we'd have good, cheap wine to go with our really tall paper skewer to put on the desk.


Have you ever been to France? What are the French people like? Have you sat down and talked to any French people?
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Postby RugbyD » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:15 am

JTWood wrote:ps - Happy 4K, Rugby. ;-D

thanks. i saw it coming a few days ago but totally forgot about it
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Postby JTWood » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:15 am

knapplc wrote:
JTWood wrote:Seriously, does anyone in this country like France? Does anyone here care that they don't like us? Why aren't we at war with them? It certainly would have been over long ago, and we'd have good, cheap wine to go with our really tall paper skewer to put on the desk.


Have you ever been to France? What are the French people like? Have you sat down and talked to any French people?

Why do you ask?
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Postby knapplc » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:21 am

JTWood wrote:
knapplc wrote:
JTWood wrote:Seriously, does anyone in this country like France? Does anyone here care that they don't like us? Why aren't we at war with them? It certainly would have been over long ago, and we'd have good, cheap wine to go with our really tall paper skewer to put on the desk.


Have you ever been to France? What are the French people like? Have you sat down and talked to any French people?

Why do you ask?

Why do you think I ask? You say you dislike the French. My question is - have you ever met any Frenchmen? What are you basing your dislike on?
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Postby Amazinz » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:31 am

I think it's more about disliking the French government than disliking French people perse.

But anyway, did anyone actually read this? Or maybe I'm reading it backwards but I don't think they are preventing media coverage of violence. Although their decision in light of Rodney King-like incidents has some scary implications.
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