After Protests, France Moves to Amend Security Law Text
By Nicolas Pinault December 01, 2020
For weeks, NGOs including the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, have expressed concerns over the draft bill, especially its Article 24, which would make it a criminal offense for anyone to disseminate images that â€” according to the text â€” might "harm the physical or mental integrity" of police officers.
Those found guilty could be punished by a year in prison or a fine of up to $53,000.
Lawmakers from President Emmanuel Macron's ruling party said Monday they would propose a "complete rewrite" of part of a draft law that would restrict the filming of police. The announcement came from majority leader Christophe Castaner, to reporters.
Castaner said the majority failed to convince the public opinion that this text was not against the freedom of press, the right to inform and the legitimate control of police force. Therefore, a complete rewrite, the lawmaker said, is necessary.
In a rare rebuke, even the European Commission declared last week that news media must be able to work freely.
Opposition lawmakers welcome the announcement of the rewrite but demand further actions and the complete withdrawal of the so-called Global Security bill.
Adrien Quatennens, an extreme-left MP from Northern France, explained that President Macron's ruling majority did not understand the people's will and the issue remains with the entire bill, not only its article 24
The French Senate will vote on the Global Security bill in January and the government says it will ask France's high court to review â€” and possibly strike down â€” the bill.
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