Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Call for the senatorial saucer?

Some atrocity occurs, and people say "there oughta be a law."

An enraged student pummels a teacher, hurling a classroom chair, swinging fists and wrestling her to the ground -- and the scene is captured by a fellow student on a cell phone camera.

The beating in a high school on the outskirts of Paris is forcing France to join other European countries tackling the spread of so-called ``happy slapping,'' a fad in which violence is filmed and passed phone-to-phone or on the Internet for others to see....

The ``happy slapping'' fad is particularly worrying to French authorities, who have been combating youth violence after a wave of rioting, car burnings and violence [in the fall of 2005] mostly in poor neighborhoods on the fringe of Paris and other cities.

So France passes a law against taking videos of violent events, to reduce the voyeurism. But then Peter Sayer from InfoWorld takes another look at the law that results:

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.

The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George Holliday in the night of March 3, 1991....

If Holliday were to film a similar scene of violence in France today, he could end up in prison as a result of the new law, said Pascal Cohet, a spokesman for French online civil liberties group Odebi.

You can't please everyone.

happyslapping citizenjournalism

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