Tuesday, March 06, 2007

France's Bad Idea

[posted by Callimachus]

When our friends the French have a bad idea, they really have a stinker:

The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday. ...[A]nyone publishing such images could face up to five years in prison and a fine of ... US$98,537, potentially a harsher sentence than that for committing the violent act.

It turns out there is a point to all this, other than to make France look random and vindictive:

During parliamentary debate of the law, government representatives said the offense of filming or distributing films of acts of violence targets the practice of “happy slapping,” in which a violent attack is filmed by an accomplice, typically with a camera phone, for the amusement of the attacker’s friends.

Is that really such a big problem over there that it requires such a wide net to catch it?

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