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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default new law would ban the filming of police brutality

    PARIS, France (AP) -- A new law in France makes it a crime -- punishable by up to five years in prison -- for anyone who is not a professional journalist to film real-world violence and distribute the images on the Internet.


    The law would outlaw the filming of police brutality such as this alleged beating in Los Angeles in 2004.

    Critics call it a clumsy, near-totalitarian effort by authorities to battle "happy slapping" -- the youth fad of filming violent acts -- which most often they have provoked themselves -- and spreading the images on the Web or between mobile phones.

    The measure, tucked deep into a vast anti-crime law that took effect Wednesday, took media advocates by surprise with what they say is an undesirable side effect: trampling on freedom of expression.

    Experts said the law is the first of its kind in Europe. France made headlines years ago by ordering U.S.-based online company Yahoo to pay a fine of about $15 million for displaying Nazi memorabilia for sale -- in violation of French law.

    The new provision takes on "happy slapping," a phenomenon whose name belies the gravity of the attacks. It mostly involves youths, and the victims often are strangers.

    Violators of the law, passed in parliament in February, will be subject to up to five years in prison and 75,000 in fines ($98,600). It was championed by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who is a top contender in France's presidential election in April and May.

    The law was published in the government's Official Journal on Wednesday, bringing it into effect, after the Constitutional Council gave its final approval over the weekend.

    Ligue Odebi, an association that seeks to protect freedom of expression on the Internet, said the measure will also hinder citizens' abilities to expose police brutality.

    "This makes France the Western country that most infringes on freedom of expression and information -- particularly on the Internet," the group said in a statement on its Web site, www.odebi.org

    "Identifying uploaders (of such images) would require the creation of a totalitarian surveillance of the Net," the group said.

    Ligue Odebi noted that the council's approval Saturday fell on the 16th anniversary of the March 3, 1991, beating of motorist Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers in a scene captured on amateur video -- a case that sparked a national outcry in the United States.

    The French law says that anyone who "knowingly" films illegal acts of violence and distributes the images can be considered an accomplice -- but that professional journalists are exempt.

    French authorities have been seeking new ways to combat youth violence after a wave of rioting, car burnings and violence mostly in poor neighborhoods on the fringe of Paris and other cities in 2005.

    Media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said it understood the government's need to crack down on "happy slapping," but feared the law draws a "dangerous" distinction that would punish "regular citizens" for doing what journalists are allowed to do.

    "The sections of this law supposedly dealing with 'happy slapping' in fact have a much broader scope," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. "Posting videos online showing violence against people could now be banned, even if it were the police carrying out the violence."

    The measure has implications for online video sites like YouTube, or France's Dailymotion.com: Authorities could ask them to identify the sources of images made available through their sites.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    so if you see police brutality going on in france and decide to record it if you have a camera handy instead of calling out to them to stop for fear of retribution, you can get put away for 5 years for exposing a crime?

    if their real concern is preventing kids from pulling "jackass" stunts and sharing them on the web, then they need to reword the language of that law that addresses those situations more specifically... common sense, no?

  3. #3
    Hot sauce on everything Red's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 07:07 PM
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    What exactly makes a journalist "professional"?

  4. #4
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darthadv View Post
    so if you see police brutality going on in france and decide to record it if you have a camera handy instead of calling out to them to stop for fear of retribution, you can get put away for 5 years for exposing a crime?
    Doesn't sound as if the crime is the filming, but instead the posting. So if you do film police brutality, I guess you'd take it to the proper authorities (whoever they are) or a television station for it to get exposed on the air.

  5. #5
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    Doesn't sound as if the crime is the filming, but instead the posting. So if you do film police brutality, I guess you'd take it to the proper authorities (whoever they are) or a television station for it to get exposed on the air.
    i thought about that, but if you film police brutality, taking it to the proper authorities would mean taking it to the police, who would likely squash it, whether there is corruption going on or not, as it wouldn't be unusual "to protect your own"... i don't see how taking it to a television station is any different than posting it yourself - both methods are ways of getting it out there for public viewing... at least this is how i'm seeing it/interpreting it...

  6. #6
    Unchained PlexiBrown's Avatar
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    WHERE IS A COP WHEN YOU NEED ONE?........OOOOPS!!!!

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    Well...duplicity is a French word.

    Evidently Liberty is no longer a French word.

    I'm going to have some Freedom Fries right now and film some deputies beating the crap out of some Nortenios. God Bless America.
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  8. #8
    Baluchitherium sisca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
    Well...duplicity is a French word.

    Evidently Liberty is no longer a French word.

    I'm going to have some Freedom Fries right now and film some deputies beating the crap out of some Nortenios. God Bless America.
    amen, brother.
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    then ill build it from the mexican side. -my reply.

 

 

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