Succeeding in crystallizing unpopularity is a feat that Emmanuel Macron’s interior ministers seem to enjoy. After the muscular bluster of Christophe Castaner, it is Gérald Darmanin who, with his proposal for a law on global security, unites against him the unions and associations of journalists, collectives for the defense of human rights, as well as the left parties, the Human rights defender Claire Hédon, the UN, the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights. In line of sight, in particular article 24 of the text tabled by deputies LaREM and of the group Agir ensemble, which could cause serious problems to the authors of filmed images of police officers (45,000 euros fine and one year in prison with stay). The article was voted on Friday in the National Assembly, by 146 votes to 24.
A lapsed amendment
Gérald Darmanin, in front of such a bronca, has already had to review his copy, at least. Prime Minister Jean Castex summoned urgently Thursday, in Matignon, the Minister of the Interior, the group presidents of the majority (LaREM, Modem and Agir) and the rapporteurs of the text, Jean-Michel Fauvergue (formerly of the Raid ) and Alice Thourot.
An amendment has been added to Article 24 to soften it: the adjective “Obviously” has been added. Thus, the police officer who arrests a demonstrator or a journalist filming can only do so if he is wearing “Manifestly affected by his physical or mental integrity”. The police are still the only ones to decide on the scope of this attack, which makes the amendment obsolete, believe the journalists and human rights collectives.
Freedom of the press, but …
The cogs of this law are seized up, and even in the majority, it begins to be said. In the Assembly, the debate was very tense. Gérald Darmanin said in the Hemicycle these very equivocal words: while affirming “The government’s total conviction of the great and beautiful freedom of the press, freedom to inform”, he adds that “If the freedom of the press can be attacked, the police and the gendarmes can be too”. Freedom of the press, but… Which is reminiscent of a sinister speech much heard after the 2015 attack on Charlie hebdo.
Marine Le Pen applauds with both hands
The left has risen entirely against Article 24. Jean-Luc Mélenchon has already announced that he would completely repeal the law if he were to be elected in 2022. On the right, the deputy Éric Diard (“Les Républicains”) , which supports the measure, asked the question of its “Constitutionality”. Marine Le Pen obviously applauded the article with both hands. The Modem, ally of the majority, demanded to ” delete this article and get back around a table to solve this difficult equation ”, according to the member of Finistère Erwan Balanant.
A text that “tends to change the rule of law”
During a press conference on Saturday at the headquarters of the Human Rights League in Paris, the groups and associations organizing the November 21 demonstration were concerned about the freedom-killing abuses of this law, as a whole. Lawyer Arié Alimi said he was concerned, like the magistrates’ unions, by a text that “Tends to change the rule of law”, since it is a question, in its various articles, of generalizing the use of drones, however prohibited until now, or of centralizing the pedestrian surveillance cameras “So that soon, facial recognition will be in place”. “In the Penal Code and the law of 1881 (on freedom of the press – Editor’s note), there are already provisions to protect the police” which, in fact, sanction the perpetrators of violence much harder, since they are punished by five years in prison, against one year in the article of law voted yesterday. The lawyer warns: “We hear those who tend to change the Constitution, the constitutional framework of the rule of law, by suppressing the freedom to inform, and after that, what other freedoms? “
“We have the impression that the police are freewheeling, that they do what they want, when they want and where they want, with journalists as well as with opponents. »Dominique Pradié (SNJ)
Dominique Pradalié, of the National Union of Journalists (SNJ), for his part recalled that 200 journalists were arrested, molested or prevented from working, according to a count made by his union. “We have the impression that the police are freewheeling, that they do what they want, when they want and where they want, with journalists as well as with opponents” to the government, noted the trade unionist, who counted the vote of “Fifteen security laws in the last ten years”.
Frightening liberticidal provisions
A representative of independent directors and journalists quoted Albert Londres: “Our job is not to please. “ ” Making images today is the transmission of reality. If, tomorrow, we are forbidden to film, that forbids transmitting all the atrocities committed ”, explained the journalist. Representatives of the Society of Film Directors were moved by this resumption of reality, “Working-class neighborhoods, refugee camps, from every corner of the Republic”, and find these liberticidal dispositions appalling“In the country which invented the cinema”. Pablo Aiquel, for the SNJ-CGT, was also worried about the signal given to the world:“According to what legitimacy are we going to ask Poland or Hungary to respect the rule of law? “ A representative of a CGT police union explained why his organization is contesting this law, which gives important powers to municipal police forces when the national police have experienced 35,000 job cuts in ten years.
This Monday, at 5.30 p.m., Gérald Darmanin is due to meet with a delegation of collectives of journalists and citizens.