Yikes. We thought it was pretty bad when some schools thought the way to stop bullying was to ban YouTube or ban cameraphones on the belief that without a record, perhaps the bullying wouldn't happen (but more likely because without a record, school administrators could pretend it didn't happen). However, the French Constitutional Council has taken this concept to an entirely new level, approving a law that says that only professional journalists can film or broadcast acts of violence. If you happen to be walking along the street and see a violent act and film it with your cameraphone, you may face time in jail. The article notes the sad irony that this decision came out on the anniversary of the Rodney King incident. Under this law, if Rodney King had been attacked today, the guy filming the video would now be facing jail time. It's as if they believe that by banning the recording of these incidents then the incidents themselves go away. It's head-in-the-sand governing, and it seems ridiculous that anyone would think this is a good idea. Update: A French journalist stopped by in the comments to suggest that the Infoworld article we linked to got the story wrong. The law is focused on stopping the filming and broadcast of such content for the purpose of "fun" and includes an exemption for filming it for proof that something is happening or in the course of trying to inform. Thus, it's not nearly as bad. However, it still seems silly to prevent such things, when all they really do is help identify those who are acting violently, making it easier for authorities to track them down.
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