For Gérald Darmanin, journalists “can, without having to do so”, approach the authorities before demonstrations

The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, said on Wednesday November 18 that journalists « [devaient] get closer to the authorities ” ahead of events for “To be able to account, to do [leur] job “. Target of strong criticism, he recovered in the evening, affirming in a Tweet that the national law enforcement plan (SNMO) which he presented in September “Provides that journalists can, without having to do so, contact the prefectures before demonstrations”.

During a press conference devoted to the activity of the police, he mentioned the case of a journalist who had complained of having been threatened with being arrested on Tuesday. during the demonstration bringing together thousands of people near the National Assembly against the controversial bill on “global security”.

“The demonstration had become illegal, since it exceeded the [prévu], and including people who were journalists had to be dispersed ”, underlined Mr. Darmanin. Moreover, this journalist had not, upstream, “Brought closer to the Prefecture of Police, unlike some of these colleagues, to cover this demonstration”, added the Minister of the Interior.

Read also What are the main measures of the “comprehensive security” law examined in the Assembly?

A specific “exchange channel”

When covering protests, journalists “Must approach the authorities, in this case the departmental prefects, especially here the Paris police prefect, to report, to be protected by the police, to be able to report, [leur] journalist work in demonstrations ”, had developed the minister, relying on the new SNMO.

With regard to demonstrations, this SNMO thus provides “A dedicated exchange channel” between the police and “Journalists, holders of a press card, accredited to the authorities”, without presenting it as mandatory. This provision had raised a sling in the world of the press, some unions believing that it amounted to giving a ” green light “ to the police to prevent journalists from doing their job during demonstrations. The Minister of the Interior then spoke on France Inter, on September 23, ” a misunderstanding “.

“In France, the law determines the status of journalists; not the press card “, recalled the National Union of Journalists (SNJ), the first representative organization of the profession, in a very critical statement.

Read the op-ed: “The new pattern of policing undermines the freedom to inform”

“Improve the dialogue”

Journalists companies from several media, including The world, deplore today a text on “global security” which, by limiting the dissemination of images of the police, “Can only attack the freedom to inform”.

Following Mr. Darmanin’s new statements, his entourage specified that he “It’s not about forcing journalists to accredit themselves”. “But making yourself known to a press officer can improve dialogue and the conditions for covering demonstrations”, added this source.

Several journalists regretted having been prevented from filming arrests and the dispersal of the demonstration, which ended in clashes with the police on Tuesday evening; some were “Molested or arrested” according to the SNJ. A journalist from France Televisions remained in police custody for twelve hours without “No reason”, denounced the group on Wednesday night, criticizing a “Arbitrary arrest”.

Resumption of the examination at the Assembly

The deputies resumed on Wednesday the examination of the bill. If the debates in the hemicycle focused on the new prerogatives of the municipal police, the controversy continued after the clashes the day before. The Minister of the Interior blasted “Unacceptable violence”. “While the representatives of the people were going to legitimately discuss a text of the law, there was pressure on the representatives of the nation not to discuss freely”, did he declare.

On Tuesday evening, police used tear gas and water cannons, and street furniture was destroyed. Thirty-three people were arrested following the clashes, which made “Ten lightly injured, including nine among the internal security forces”, according to the police headquarters. Among those arrested, four were still in police custody Wednesday evening, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. Twenty-six people were reminded of the law before a judicial police officer, mainly for “Unarmed gathering after summons to disperse”. Three people were presented to a delegate of the prosecutor for a call to the law for “Participation in a group with a view to committing violence”, detailed the floor. The four people still in custody are suspected in particular of damage and throwing projectiles, he added.

The Paris prosecutor’s office was unable to confirm the custody of a journalist from France Televisions, arrested while filming with his mobile phone arrests of demonstrators, denounced by the audiovisual group.

The World with AFP

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