France to 'rewrite' controversial bill which restricted filming police officers

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Nov 30, 2020, 09.20 PM(IST)

Emmanuel Macron Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

French lawmakers on Monday announced that they would undertake a “complete rewrite” of part of a draft law which intended to restrict the filming of police officers

French lawmakers on Monday announced that they would undertake a “complete rewrite” of part of a draft law which intended to restrict the filming of police officers.

Recently, the beating of a black man in the French capital had caused outrage. "We know that questions still persist" about the law, the head of Emmanuel Macron’s MPs, Christophe Castaner said at a press conference.

The French government faced criticism for a law that would make it illegal to disseminate images of police officers in certain circumstances. It would have banned the publication of images of on-duty police officers.

Journalists, human rights activists, opposition leaders have been protesting against the proposed law.

Also read: European Union warns France over press freedom as it pushes security law

On Monday, French journalists held a meeting with the interior minister over the law. However, according to them their concerns fell on deaf ears.

"We consider that the French interior minister is no longer the interlocutor of the coordination because he goes too far in his bill proposal, he goes too far in his stubbornness. He is going too far in his stubbornness," Emmanuel Poupard, secretary-general of the SNJ(National Union of Journalists), said.

"The rule of law as we know it, democracy in France, the Republic are endangered by these texts. So we appeal to the prime minister to finally restore things and to tell his minister to stop," Poupard added.

The French police have been filmed clashing with migrants recently, with visuals going viral.

Also read: France mulls law to ban pictures of police officials in action

It will also make it harder to hold police accountable for abuses such as excessive use of force - a growing public concern. The offence would carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a 45,000-euro ($53,000) fine.

EU spokesman Christian Wigand said "The commission does not comment on draft laws, but it goes without saying that in a period of crisis it is more important than ever that journalists must be able to do their jobs freely and in complete safety."

The European Commission recently referred to France's draft security law by warning that news media must be able to "work freely".

French journalists and press freedom advocates have protested against the planned law, which would limit the right to film or photograph on-duty police officers.

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