[DEBATE] : French Censorship - reversing the storming of the bastille
Riaz K Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Wed Mar 7 16:42:56 GMT 2007
A step backwards for Citizen Journalism - France bans citizen
journalists from reporting violence
March 7th, 2007
From MacWorld comes this disturbing news:
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.
This is a classic instance where an overbroad definition of a
specific problem is addressed through legislation that serves to
undermine media freedom and the freedom of expression in general.
Ostensibly brought about to curb happy slapping, the French laws
essentially criminalize the activities of citizen journalists
unrelated to the perpetrators of violent acts. A citizen who happens
to capture an act of violence or brutality directed against another
citizen - especially by the French Police, noted for their excessive
use of force - now stands the risk of imprisonment, which is clearly
a absurd position to espouse through legislation.
As further noted in the Macworld article:
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.
This is clearly a disturbing precedent.
Posted by ict4peace Filed in ICT in general, Interesting stuff
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