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Jean Castex forced to offer new pledges to his opponents

The flood of images taken Monday evening, November 23, and showing the police in the process of exerting violence against migrants during the evacuation of a camp on the Place de la République, in Paris, has a news once pushed Jean Castex to step up to the plate. “There is no question of preventing anyone from filming or broadcasting images that shed light on a fact or event of a public nature, declared the Prime Minister in front of the deputies, Tuesday, November 24, at the opening of the debates on the proposed law on “global security”. That is not Article 24. And besides, I will explain it to the journalists’ unions and representatives of the press that I will receive this week. “

Another gesture intended to give pledges to the protesters: the head of government announced that he would seize himself, “At the end of the legislative process”, the Constitutional Council, without waiting for the opposition to pull the rug out from under it. Will this text pass the examination of constitutional judges? And on what criteria will they decide? “A provision must be proportionate to its objective, first recalls Bertrand Mathieu, former professor of constitutional law, now a member of the Council of State. VSThe last one, which is to protect the police, is in the general interest, but this must affect the freedom of the press as little as possible. The difficulty here is to assess whether the cursor is well placed. “

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For the doctor of law Dominique Rousseau, this article 24 – which foresees to penalize the diffusion of images likely to “Manifestly harm the physical or mental integrity of a police officer or a gendarme” – could, as it is, “To be censored, because it undoubtedly infringes article 11 of the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen, which considers that the freedom to inform is one of the most precious human rights”. In the eyes of the lawyer, the clarifications made to the text on Friday in order to make it more acceptable – in particular that which insists on the will “Obviously” malicious – are not sufficient, and leave “Too much margin of appreciation for judges and the police”.

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How, indeed, to characterize the intention to harm of the one who disseminates images? For Dominique Chagnollaud de Sabouret, president of the circle of constitutionalists, the sanction provided (one year of imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros) also seems disproportionate.

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