Home Germany News Protests Against New Law: Is France Restricting Press Freedom?

Protests Against New Law: Is France Restricting Press Freedom?

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A new law in France introduces penalties for disseminating pictures of security forces. Thousands of people, on the other hand, take to the streets. There are also many journalists among them. Because they fear interference with the freedom of the press.

In France, several thousand people demonstrated against a planned security law. The protests took place on Saturday in Paris, Lille and Montpellier. The draft law, which was passed in part by the National Assembly in first reading on Friday evening, provides for a controversial penalty for the dissemination of pictures by security forces.

The protesters criticize the security law to protect police officers at the expense of press freedom.

(Photo: picture alliance / dpa)

Journalists’ associations and civil rights organizations had called for the protests. They fear massive interference with the freedom of the press. The final vote should be early next week.

For weeks there has been strong criticism of Article 24 of the planned “global security law”, which is supposed to protect the police. Protests broke out in Paris on Tuesday over the plans, which, according to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and police unions, are intended to “protect those who protect us”. Several journalists were temporarily arrested.

If the new law is passed, the publication of pictures of security officers in action with the aim of injuring the physical or mental integrity of the police officers can be punished with up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.

Also controversial is an article that stipulates that security forces may carry their weapons when they are out of service within a public facility. The measure was included in the draft law because the bloody terrorist attack on the Parisian Bataclan concert hall in November 2015, which left 90 dead, included three police officers who were unable to intervene.

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