Succeeding in achieving unanimity against oneself is a feat that Emmanuel Macron’s interior ministers seem to enjoy. After the boasting of Christophe Castaner, it is Gérald Darmanin who, by his support for the proposed law on global security, brings together against him the unions and associations of journalists, a profession that is however little organized, associations and collectives for the defense of human rights. Like the Defender of Rights, Claire Hédon, the UN, the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, left-wing elected officials (PCF, FI, EELV). In line of sight, article 24 of the text tabled by members of LaREM and the Agir ensemble group, which could cause serious trouble for the authors of filmed images of police officers (45,000 euros fine and one year in prison suspended ). The article was voted on Friday in the National Assembly, by 146 votes to 24. This Saturday, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., a rally is scheduled at Place du Trocadéro, in Paris. In Rennes, this Saturday morning, 1,500 people gathered. Other mobilizations took place in the regions (1).
Gérald Darmanin, in front of such a bronca, has already had to review his copy. 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, Michel Fauvergue and Alice Thourot. It was decided to make some changes to the bill, via an amendment, to soften it: the adjective “Obviously” has been added. Thus, the police officer who arrests a demonstrator or a journalist filming, will only be able to do so if he is wearing “Manifestly affected by his physical or mental integrity”. The policeman is always alone to decide on this attack, which makes the amendment null and void, say the journalists. It would also have to characterize the intention to harm … All this, four days after a demonstration of protest against this bill which gave rise to 33 arrests, and during which five journalists were jostled, molested or warned on sight simply to exercise their profession.
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 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.
The left has risen entirely against article 24. On the right, the deputy Eric Diard (The Republicans), who supports the measure, asked himself 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.
During a press conference on Saturday at the headquarters of the Human Rights League in Paris, the groups and associations organizing the demonstration on November 21 were concerned about the liberticidal drifts of this law as a whole. The lawyer Arié Halimi 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 these 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 the 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? “ 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”. She also protests against the law enforcement plan adopted on September 16, which obliges journalists to report to the prefecture to exercise their profession. “Hello freedom in our work, and the protection of sources”, amplified by surveillance cameras and drones, protested the head of the SNJ.
A representative of independent directors and journalists quoted Albert Londres: “Our job is not to please” ( “But to carry the feather in the wound”, full citation). ” 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 rise in reality, “Working-class neighborhoods, refugee camps, from every corner of the Republic”, and find these liberticidal provisions 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.
In addition, the Ministry of the Interior has asked to meet the coordination of journalists on Monday afternoon.