Thursday, March 08, 2007

If a Car Burns in France

But nobody sees it, did it really happen? Better Arrest the messenger

“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.”

This kind of thing is, in many respects, greatly desired by “professional” journalists everywhere. After all, professional accreditation & registration limits competition, and props up wages and the prestige associated with the guild.

But of course, the French aren’t done yet:

“The government has also proposed a certification system for Web sites, blog hosters, mobile-phone operators and Internet service providers, identifying them as government-approved sources of information if they adhere to certain rules. The journalists’ organization Reporters Without Borders, which campaigns for a free press, has warned that such a system could lead to excessive self censorship as organizations worried about losing their certification suppress certain stories.”

Which is exactly the point. France wants to control the news by eliminating free expression and making it a crime to publish unauthorized views. For the Professional Journalist, the downside to registration and government accreditation is that what the government grants, the government can take away.

At least the French Government hasn’t lost sight of the most important objective – that of protecting the French Government.