Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More from those whacky French

PARIS -- A new law in France makes it a crime for anyone who is not a professional journalist to film real-world violence and distribute the images on the Internet.

Critics call it a clumsy effort by authorities to battle "happy slapping," the youth fad of filming violent acts - which most often they have provoked - and spreading the images on the Web or between mobile phones.
Ligue Odebi, an association that seeks to protect freedom of expression on the Internet, said the measure will also hinder citizens' abilities to expose police brutality.

"This makes France the Western country that most infringes on freedom of expression and information - particularly on the Internet," the group said in a statement on its Web site.
Violators will be subject to up to five years in prison and nearly $100,000 in fines.
"The sections of this law supposedly dealing with 'happy slapping' in fact have a much broader scope," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. "Posting videos online showing violence against people could now be banned, even if it were the police carrying out the violence."

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