The tone is measured. It is nonetheless a warning sign. Asked this Monday, November 23 on the vote by French deputies of a text penalizing the malicious dissemination of images of the police, the European Commission recalled the principles of the EU:
“The Commission refrains from commenting on bills, but it goes without saying that in times of crisis it is more important than ever that journalists can do their work freely and safely”, said Christian Wigand, spokesperson for the European Commission.
“As always, the Commission reserves the right to examine the final legislation in order to verify its conformity with EU law”, he added.“We did not vote for that”: 33 personalities question Macron on the laws “global security” and “separatism”The proposed “Global Security” law under discussion in parliament in France, and in particular its article 24 voted on Friday, which intends to penalize the malicious dissemination of photographs of police officers during demonstrations, raises the indignation of journalists’ organizations and defenders of public freedoms . Denounced as prejudicial to ” freedom of speech “ and to ” Right wing state “, it sparked demonstrations on Saturday which gathered several thousand people in France.
“We are monitoring the situation closely”, said the spokesperson for the Commission which, as guardian of the treaties, ensures that European law is respected and applied.
“When drafting their security legislation, Member States must respect the principle of proportionality and strike the right balance between guaranteeing public security and protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens, including personal liberty. of expression, media freedom, freedom of association, the right to respect for private life and access to information ”, recalled the spokesperson.TRIBUNE. “We will not accredit our journalists to cover the demonstrations”
The contested section of the Law on “Global security”, adopted Friday at first reading by the deputies, penalizes one year in prison and a 45,000 euros fine for the dissemination of “The image of the face or any other identifying element” of the police in intervention when it clearly carries “Reached” their “Physical or mental integrity”. A government amendment specified that this measure cannot “Prejudice to the right to inform”.
In Spain, a similar provision was revoked at the end of last week by the Constitutional Court. Baptized “Gag law” by its detractors, the Spanish text sanctions “Unauthorized use” images of the police “Which may endanger the personal or professional safety of agents, protected installations or the success of an operation, while respecting the fundamental right to information”. Fines can range from 600 to 10,400 euros.
Should we prohibit filming the police?According to the decision of the Constitutional Court of Thursday, the fact of having to ask for an authorization to use images of the police force is “Unconstitutional”.