For Gérald Darmanin, journalists “must get closer” to the authorities before going to cover demonstrations

The journalists “Must approach the authorities” upstream of the events they want to cover in order to be able to ” realize “ and ” make [leur] job “, said Wednesday, November 18, the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin.

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 on the outskirts of the National Assembly, bringing together thousands of people against the controversial bill on the “Global security”. “This journalist did not approach the police headquarters, unlike some of his colleagues, to cover this demonstration”, said the interior minister.

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“A dedicated exchange channel”

When covering protests, journalists “Must approach the authorities, in this case the departmental prefects, particularly here the Paris police prefect, to report, to be protected by the police, to be able to report, to do his work as a journalist in demonstrations ”, developed the minister, based on the new national plan for the maintenance of order (SNMO) published in September.

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 interior minister 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 undermine the freedom to inform”.

After Mr. Darmanin’s new statements, his entourage clarified 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 also complained Tuesday evening of having been prevented from filming arrests and the dispersal of the demonstration completed after clashes with the police.

One of them, an employee of France Télévisions, was arrested during this demonstration and placed in police custody before being released on Wednesday, denounced the management of the audiovisual group in a press release. “The demonstration had become illegal since it exceeded the schedule [prévu] and including people who were journalists had to be dispersed ”, underlined Mr. Darmanin, without referring to the journalist of France Televisions.

The World with AFP

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