All journalists and citizens need to worry about this

April 22, 2007

Press Gazette – Citizen Journalists in France threatened with arrest

This is a very alarming development, I suppose the law has been in place for a while (since March 3 2007), but its use against journalists, or anyone recording an event of public interest as opposed to just capturing a “happy slapping” moment is alarming.

Here’s a grab of the blog report linked to above:

I was present at the riot. I Twittered a series of eight live messages. I took photos. At one point, a police officer asked me to hand him my camera. I showed him my press card and I carried on taking photographs. An hour later, I uploaded the images to the photosharing site Flickr. And a day later, I noticed a comment by Mo, a fellow Flickr member, below one of the 24 images. He wrote: “I got all the photos and videos I took yesterday on my cameraphone deleted by a policeman, who told me he would arrest [me] if he ever saw me doing [it] again. I don’t know if he had the right to erase the photos. I should see about that.”

I’ve never been one to favour laws against journalism, or any kind of government regulation. This is why.
I hope to post more on why I don’t support the outdated notion of the “Fourth Estate”, but it’s ironic that it was really a product of the French revolution.
The bottom line is that was a bourgeois revolution and now that the bourgeoisie is the ruling class and its global dominance is complete, it doesn’t need freedom of the press, not even in the nation that gave us the classic slogan of liberation: liberte, egalite, [humanite]. Of course the original was ‘fraternite’, brotherhood in other words. I’ve updated it on behalf of (not really, more in support of) the sisterhood.