Images & Medias

Law proposal No. 2992 by french deputy Eric Ciotti

On May 26, 2020, law proposal No. 2992 was registered by the Presidency of the National Assembly, it aims to “make law enforcement personnel unidentifiable when images are disseminated in the media space.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis in France, around thirty French deputies tabled a law proposal concerning the dissemination of images of the police in France. It concerns “officials of the national police, military, municipal police or customs officials”.

The objective of the 29 signatories, the deputies Éric CIOTTI, Gérard CHERPION, Geneviève LEVY, Valérie BAZIN‑MALGRAS, Bernard REYNÈS, Bérengère POLETTI, Jean‑Louis MASSON, Josiane CORNELOUP, Marc LE FUR, Ian BOUCARD, Annie GENEVARD, Jean‑Claude BOUCHET, Valérie BOYER, Emmanuelle ANTHOINE, Gérard MENUEL, Raphaël SCHELLENBERGER, Olivier DASSAULT, Olivier MARLEIX, Bernard PERRUT, Michèle TABAROT, Pierre‑Henri DUMONT, Michel VIALAY, Thibault BAZIN, Patrick HETZEL, Jean‑Marie SERMIER, Gilles LURTON, Didier QUENTIN, Jean‑Pierre DOOR, Julien AUBERT, is to “systematically make law enforcement personnel in the entire media space, including social networks, unidentifiable.”

So far, nothing really alarming, in fact, many members of elite units like the GIGN or the BRI hide their faces behind hoods making them unidentifiable on photos or videos.

But where the rub is when we know the details of the only section of the law proposal. It is stated in the first two paragraphs:

Paragraph 3 of chapter IV of the law of July 29, 1881 on the freedom of the press is supplemented by an article 35 quinquies thus written:

Art. 35 quinquies – The dissemination, by any means whatsoever and whatever the medium, of the image of national police officers, soldiers, municipal police or customs officials is punishable by € 15,000. fine and one year imprisonment.

law proposal No. 2992

The famous paragraph 3 of chapter IV of the law of July 29, 1881 on the freedom of the press declares:

Any allegation or imputation of a fact which affects the honor or the consideration of the person or the body to which the fact is imputed is defamation. The direct publication or by reproduction of this allegation or imputation is punishable, even if it is done in dubious form or if it targets a person or a body not expressly named, but whose identification is made possible by the terms speeches, shouts, threats, written or printed, placards or posters incriminated. Any outrageous expression, contempt or invective which does not include the imputation of any fact is an insult.

Law of July 29, 1881 on freedom of the press

This article already punishes defamation, in particular for the police. The current proposal does not strengthen the security of the police, it attempts to muzzle the press and social networks on the actions of the police.

The term “Image of public servants” is ambiguous. The words “Image” and “Face” are not synonymous, the image includes many other elements than just the face or the head.

The notoriety of #MoiAussiJaiPeurDevantLaPolice or the death of George Floyd during his arrest in the United States are indicators of a certain unhappiness, the answer of which is not a proposal for a liberticide law, notably for the press; unless you want to see it in one of your magazines:

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Nicolas Beaumont is a photojournalist, director and writer specializing in social and humanitarian photography. Among our clients are the French Red Cross, Emmaüs, Handicap International, Secours Mag, Dimatex, Actusoins. We make films, photographs and articles around the world on current topics: migration, war, displaced, natural disaster, flood etc...

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