Tuesday, March 06, 2007

France Moves to Abandon Free Speech

That's what this article could have been titled:

France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence

Under the new law, it is now a crime in France to film or broadcast acts of violence. For instance, if someone were to film police officers beating a suspect, such as what happened to Rodney King in Los Angeles almost exactly 16 years ago, that act of filming is a crime. Broadcasting that footage is also a crime. Only "professional journalists" are exempt from this law.

Also under consideration is a system for providing government certification of "[w]eb sites, blog hosters, mobile-phone operators and Internet service providers, identifying them as government-approved sources of information if they adhere to certain rules." That, at least, has not been approved yet. But the ban on filming or broadcasting violent acts has already been approved.

I'm hardly a France-basher. I've never once ordered "freedom fries" or any of that bullshit--in fact, I applaud France's courage in being one of the few countries willing to tell the United States where exactly we can shove it. I have to ask, though, where the hell is that courage today?

This new law is a big mistake. Huge.


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