European Union Cites Press Freedom as France Pushes Security Law

The European Commission on Nov. 23 warned on press freedom regarding the French draft security law, saying that journalists should be able to “do their work freely and in full security.”

The European Commission on Nov. 23 warned on press freedom regarding the French draft security law, saying that journalists should be able to “do their work freely and in full security.”

“The commission does not comment on draft laws, but it goes without saying that in a period of crisis, it is more important than ever that journalists must be able to do their jobs freely and in full security,” European Union Spokesperson Christian Wigand said in response to a question on the planned law during a daily online press briefing.

“When member states are drafting security legislation, they must respect the principle of proportionality and strike the right balance between guaranteeing public security and protecting citizens’ rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, media freedom, freedom of association, privacy and access to information,” Wigand also said.

French journalists and press freedom advocates have protested against the law, which would restrict and criminalize the publication of photos and videos of police officers on duty in public spaces. They also said that the law could potentially prevent journalists from documenting abuses by security forces.

Article 24 of the draft law states one year in prison and a fine of €45,000 ($54,000) for publication of images that officers object to. This article was amended during the law’s first reading last Nov. 20 to add “without prejudice to the right to inform.”

Wigand said that the European Commission “reserves the right to examine the final legislation” to confirm that it follows the European Union law.


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