Recording a police officer on your phone could soon be illegal in France.
When news surfaced that a draconian anti-freedom law restricting the ability to record French police officers passed through the National Assembly, hundreds of thousands of citizens took to the streets all across France. The announcement coincided with the release of a video showing four police officers assaulting Michel Zecler in his own Parisian recording studio.
On Saturday, as the sun began to set on nearly 50,000 protestors in Paris, heavily armed Police rolled in, quickly inciting what started as a peaceful assembly. The protestors were calling for the Senate to block Article 24, which would make it illegal to share an image of a police officer that could cause negative outcomes to their “physical or psychological integrity.”
Videos, like the one of Michel Zecler published by Loopsider, could soon be declared illegal under Article 24. If the law passes the French Senate, a citizen journalist who records and publishes a police officer’s image, can be sentenced up to a year in jail.
Just days before the announcement, French citizen journalists released images of the police violently destroying a refugee camp built in a central Paris square, fittingly called the Place de la République. And then over the weekend, while covering the protests, Ameer Alhalbi, an award winning Syrian photojournalist, was suddenly overrun and assaulted by the French Police, becoming part of the story he was covering. Both brutalized and censored by the police.