No Freedom Fries in France

Remember when the French got picked on a few years ago and everyone stopped ordering “french fries” and went to “freedom fries?” Turns out there really may be a difference. The French government has banned citizens from filming acts of violence. There is an exemption for “professional journalists,” but I wonder how they plan to define a professional. (If the French already have a way of labeling, then … well … then that’s another entry.)

This is an attempt at stopping something called “happy slapping” – when gangs assault or provoke violence solely for the purpose of taping and displaying it. But what happens when there’s an assault outside your window and you try to record it to assist the police? What happens to all of the bank security cameras – technically, they’re not journalists so if they record a robbery, would that be in violation?

And while I guess I could still be labeled as a “professional journalist” here in America (not that we label, anyway), what happens if I’m on vacation in France and shoot something? Am I going to get arrested?

Mark E. Johnson

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