Amidst the growing phenomenon of racist bills, the rise of the extreme right, hate speech and Islamophobia, which are adopted by the French media affiliated with the right and the extreme right, and with the encouragement of the official discourse of the state, the draft comprehensive security law that was submitted by the ruling party bloc “Republic Forward” to Parliament has emerged The French, as an indication of the decline in freedom of expression in France and the lack of acceptance of the other, according to what activists say.
The draft comprehensive security law, especially paragraph 24 of it that restricts the freedom of photography and publishing, as imposes a general prison sentence and a fine of 45 thousand euros for anyone who publishes pictures of “the face or any identification mark” of a policeman or gendarme while performing his job in order to “cause harm.” Physical or psychological by it “mass protests since the 17th of this month, led by structures and unions organizing the journalistic profession, civil society organizations and human rights bodies.
Against the backdrop of the many arrests that took place last Tuesday for a number of journalists and civil society activists, as well as violent confrontations between protesters and security forces, protests came on the eve of Saturday 21 November in the French capital Paris and in many French cities, more numerous, momentum and more intense.
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the Human Rights Square and the Trocadero near the Tourvel, and expressed their anger and renewed rejection of this bill, which is “insulting to the values of freedom and human rights on which the Republic and the French Revolution were founded,” as confirmed by some representatives of civil society who met with Al-Jazeera Net.
In the demonstrations, slogans were raised mocking Macron and his policy and denouncing the comprehensive security law, such as “comprehensive security equals a comprehensive dictatorship,” “No to the police state,” “Democracy at risk,” and “No to the police state … Yes to the rule of law.”
Emmanuel Boppard, first general secretary of the National Union of French Journalists, described the comprehensive security law as “an unprecedented setback to our public and basic freedoms in France,” and said it to reinforce the sense of police impunity and make police violence invisible.
Critics believed that the law came to conceal the ugly face of the security forces, which often commit excesses and exaggerated violence against the demonstrators .. They asked whether it was the war of image?
In a special statement to Al-Jazeera Net, Secretary-General of the International Federation of Journalists, Anthony Bellanger, said regarding the battle of the image, its symbolism and its backgrounds, “Certainly, it is the war of the image, because this law encourages the police to hide their abuses.”
He adds that the fact that the image is broadcast, especially the live broadcast, will be impossible under the proposed law, as merely filming will lead to arrest and targeting by the police. He points out that it is clear that not only journalists, photo reporters, documentary filmmakers, and members of observatories of targeted citizens, but also anyone who uses their mobile phone to take pictures, especially during demonstrations or social movements.
He continues that self-censorship will be widespread in the media and on platforms, and on the other hand, members of the security forces will be able to photograph the population during their daily lives, and this is a serious violation of basic rights, the right to freedom of expression and, of necessity, freedom of the press.
Responding to a question about the impact of the new French legislation and its new narrowing policy on freedom of expression, on the dictatorial regimes in the world, he does not believe that this encourages dictatorial countries, because these countries do not need an example such as France in order to extend its influence over the media and increase the press’s submission and control. With an iron fist on activists and opponents, “But this simply shows that France has become part of the backward dictatorial political systems in opposition to freedom of expression.”
As for Dominique Bradley, former chief journalist for the French Channel 2 and General Secretary of the French Journalists Syndicate, her confusion, annoyance and great fear for the future of the journalistic profession in France – and she speaks to Al Jazeera Net – did not hide, stressing that this draft law “breaks the freedoms and the right to information and knowledge. These rights are stipulated in it.” The French constitution and in all international charters and international treaties signed and ratified by France. “
As for Gilles Monsphon, a member of the Central Committee of the French Human Rights League, he told Al-Jazeera Net that “the comprehensive security law is a dangerous law and is inconsistent with the principles of freedom and the democratic values upon which the republic was first established.”
Regarding his opinion of the escalation of the wave of racism towards Muslims and immigrants, especially after the killing of Professor Samuel Patti against the background of the cartoons of the Holy Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, Monsphon said, “In fact, unfortunately, one of the manifestations of racial discrimination in France in the past years and the last period towards Muslims is This confusion between the terrorist operations that take place in France, which we condemn in all forms, and Muslims and Islam as a religion, culture and ancient civilization. “
He added, “There are those trying to take advantage of these anomalous incidents in order to make and enact laws condemning all Muslims in France. This is the exact injustice because Muslims are an integral part of French society and the republic, and then is it reasonable to isolate a group of society with unfair laws and their false accusation?” And fabricated? “