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“The proposed law on comprehensive security arouses deep and legitimate concern on the part of the media and journalists”

Tribune. For more than five years, journalists covering demonstrations in France have been subjected to police violence, which successive governments have not recognized as serious. The phenomenon was amplified with the demonstrations against the labor law, with the night standing movement then that of the “yellow vests”. Hundreds of times, journalists have been the victims of insults and beatings inflicted by police officers, of deliberate firing of flashballs or defense grenades, their work and protection equipment being sometimes destroyed or confiscated.

In this context, the proposed law on comprehensive security arouses deep and legitimate concern on the part of the vast majority, if not all of the organizations representing the media and journalists. Article 24, which provides for the criminalization of the dissemination of images with the intention of harming the physical and mental integrity of police officers, is eminently dangerous, even if it is unlikely that it will ultimately lead to the conviction of journalists by the courts.

Read also the report: The UN Human Rights Council is concerned about the content of the bill “for global security”

Whatever the promises of the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, in front of the national representation, the police could proceed on the ground to the arrest of journalists filming their operations. It suffices to see the abusive interpretation of the texts which the police too often make (when it is not the minister himself). On November 17, when a reporter wanted to photograph a CRS who had just jostled him, the official said: “Take advantage, it’s the last time”

Global reach

The dismay over this article is growing worldwide. A spokesperson for the European Commission recalled that journalists should be able to “To do their work freely and safely”. On November 12, three rapporteurs from the United Nations Human Rights Council considered that the proposed law “Significant violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to privacy, the right to freedom of expression and opinion, and the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly”.

We ask the minister to publish a circular on the role of journalists in protests and the obligation for the police to let them do their job

The Minister of the Interior has exacerbated fears by publicly mentioning the possibility of an outright ban on the dissemination of images of police officers on social networks (which is not in the bill). He has publicly interpreted in a distorted manner the new national law enforcement scheme (SNMO) that his own services had just published, considering that journalists should “To accredit” so as not to be prevented from working by the police.

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