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French lawmakers pass bill that restricts publication of images of police

November 24, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 17: Security forces use tear gas as they intervene in protests against the French Government's proposed global security law bill on November 17, 2020 in Paris, France. The protesters include activists, reporters and unions who are concerned that Article 24 of the bill, which prohibits the diffusion of images of police "with intention to harm", threatens the press freedom in France. Several MPs have criticised the bill's implications and President Macron has come under fire from national journalism unions and the UN for the proposals, relating to police accountability and the use of drones for street surveillance. (Photo by Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

French lawmakers passed a bill on Tuesday that critics say could make it harder for journalists and human rights advocates to hold police accountable.

Paris (CNN)French lawmakers passed a bill on Tuesday that critics say could make it harder for journalists and human rights advocates to hold police accountable.

"If people cannot film anything in the streets when the police may sometimes have an illegal use of force it's a very worrying message to send," according to Cecile Coudriou, president of Amnesty International France.

The bill's defenders say it is necessary after police officers were singled out and harassed on social media during the gilets jaunes protests of 2018 and 2019.

At a press conference on Wednesday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin was asked about the police response to the protests, and video of one journalist who claims police threatened him with arrest even though he'd shown his press card.

"The journalist did not approach the police ahead of the protest -- as some of his colleagues did -- in order to be allowed to cover it," said Darmanin.

Nothing in French law requires journalists to seek the permission of the police before covering a protest.

"It would be saying, after George Floyd, we're not going to allow the filming of police," according to David Dufresne, who says his recent film about police brutality, "The Monopoly of Violence," simply couldn't have been made if the global security bill were law.

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