Protesters in France are staging weekly nationwide demonstrations against a new security bill. The protests have been mostly peaceful, though there have been violent clashes with police over the proposed law. The bill, if passed, would make it an offence to post images of on-duty police officers with the intent to harm their “physical or psychological integrity”.
Critics of the bill say it would make it more difficult to document incidents of police brutality. In November, four French police officers were charged over the racial abuse and beating of a black music producer that was caught on video. Protesters believe it will damage press freedom and make it more difficult to hold the police to account if the rules around filming officers are unclear or too zealously enforced.
Supporters of the bill, however, argue that police officers are at risk of harassment, threats and even violence if their identities are published online. In 2016, a police officer and his partner were stabbed to death in front of their three-year-old child by a man claiming allegiance to Islamic State. The attacker had compiled a list of potential targets, including police as well as journalists and celebrities.
Responding to the protests, the French government has announced it will rewrite part of the bill. However, protesters want the entire security bill scrapped and have vowed to continue their demonstrations.
Should filming police officers be illegal? How can citizens and the media hold police to account if they can’t film them? Does publishing the identities of police put them in danger? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!