Saturday, March 10, 2007

Le Citizen Journalism

France has brought in a new law that forbids ordinary citizens from distributing video or images showing acts of violence. Not that I'm a fan of violence or anything, but the story caught my eye because of what it means to citizen journalism there.

The law sets up fines of up to 75,000 euros and up to five years of prison time for those found to be distributing images of some offenses - stuff like:
  • Torture
  • Acts of barbarity
  • Violence committed by an agent of the state in the exercise of his duties

That last one is particularly troubling n'est pas?

The law is specifically targeted at happy-slapping videos, but groups like Reporters Without Borders are concerned that the law is so broadly written that it poses a great threat to the safeguard against abuse of authority that is citizen journalism.

Images and video are understandably crucial for television news, but I'm not sure that we actually need to see violence to be informed of its existence. I for one don't really like seeing the stuff, but I think the fact that individuals risk their own safety to expose things like torture and brutality speaks to our collective hope for a peaceful existence.

Banning the distribution of videos and photos like this deals a heavy blow to ordinary people fighting for social justice. It makes one wonder what France has to hide.

1 comment:

Coya said...

Well, in French there is a word that sets the media's morals - "déontologie". I am sure other countries have more to hide. And, to be honest, I am happy that there are limits to citizen journalism. I still haven't understand what makes it so hype...

Nice blog by the way!