RSF reiterates call for article 24’s deletion from “global security” bill

first_img Despite its rewriting by the Senate Law Commission on 3 March, article 24 of the “global security” bill remains dangerous for press freedom. As amended, article 24 no longer penalizes the dissemination of photos and videos of police officers or gendarmes with an intent to harm. Instead, it penalizes the new crime of “causing the identification” of police officers or gendarmes with an intent to harm. In other words, causing an action that is not crime is itself a crime if done with a particular intent. This notion is strange. The new wording does not spell out what constitutes the offence (disseminating photos or videos, or inciting identification) and maintains the vague concept of “psychological integrity*,” previously criticized by RSF.RSF therefore stands by its position that the Senate should delete this article when it debates the “global security” bill from 16 to 18 March.“Article 24 continues to be problematic and should be eliminated,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “The obvious danger that we have been pointing out for months, namely the use of this law to limit the freedom of reporters in the field, has not been reduced by these amendments.”If the article is maintained, RSF says it should be incorporated into the 1881 law on press freedom so that it is subject to the procedural guarantees that journalists rightly enjoy under that law. It has been claimed that journalists would still be protected even if the article were not incorporated into the 1881 law, but this is wrong. They would be exposed to summary trials by courts that are not specialised in media law.In its current form, as amended by the Senate’s law commission, article 24 of the proposed “global security” bill is incorporated into the penal code, as is article 18 of the draft law on “consolidating respect for the Republic’s principles.” The first version of article 24 envisaged insertion into the 1881 law.France is ranked 34th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.*The amended version of article 24 says: “Causing, with the manifest aim of harming their physical or psychological integrity, the identification of an officer of the national police, a member of the national gendarmerie or an officer of the municipal police when they are taking part in a police operation is punishable by five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros.” “We’ll hold Ilham Aliyev personally responsible if anything happens to this blogger in France” RSF says June 4, 2021 Find out more May 10, 2021 Find out more News Organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stands by its opposition to article 24 of the proposed “global security” bill although the French Senate’s law commission rewrote it on 3 March. If the Senate, which is due to examine the bill this week, insists on keeping this article, it should be incorporated into the 1881 press freedom law rather than the penal code in order to minimize the threat to journalists and press freedom, RSF says. French Senate (photo: Lionel Bonaventure / AFP) News RSF denounces Total’s retaliation against Le Monde for Myanmar story Help by sharing this information Receive email alertscenter_img RSF_en News Use the Digital Services Act to make democracy prevail over platform interests, RSF tells EU March 15, 2021 RSF reiterates call for article 24’s deletion from “global security” bill FranceEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalists Judicial harassment to go further June 2, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on France News FranceEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalists Judicial harassment last_img read more

Law-breaking court sentences journalist to two years

first_img Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Chad ChadAfrica Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentImprisoned ChadAfrica Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentImprisoned News December 1, 2020 Find out more Many historic publications threatened with closure in Chad RSF_en Crédit photo: Chadian radio stations on strike in protest against violent raid Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by the two-year jail term that a local radio station manager received this week in Moundou, the capital of the Logone Occidental region in southern Chad. The sentence violates Chad’s media law. Receive email alertscenter_img November 27, 2020 Find out more Reports October 7, 2020 Find out more to go further Sylver Beindé Bessandé, the manager of Moundou-based community radio Nada FM and correspondent of N’Djamena-based FM Liberté, was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of 100,000 CFA francs (152 euros) on charges of contempt of court and undermining judicial authority. He is now detained in Moundou prison. The charge was brought against Bessandé on 9 June for broadcasting a municipal councillor’s irate reaction outside the courthouse after receiving a suspended six-month jail sentence in a legal dispute between him and the head of the Moundou city hall administration. He accused the judges of “skulduggery.” Bessandé’s lawyer, Boniface Mouandilmadji, told RSF that the proceedings against his client were “riddled with irregularities” and that “the defence rights were flouted.” He said Bessandé was tried under the criminal code when he should have been tried under the media law (Law No. 17 of 2010), which does not provide for jail sentences. Moreover, it was impossible to know who filed the complaint against Bessandé (as the relevant document was missing from the case file) and the charges were changed at the last moment to include undermining judicial authority, which gave the defence no time to prepare a response. His lawyer intends to appeal. “This journalist’s prison sentence violates Chadian law and raised questions about the justice system’s independence,” RSF said. “We urge the judicial authorities to quash this sentence and free him at once. All the legal and regulatory instruments needed to guarantee the freedom to inform already exist in Chad. They just need to be used wisely.” Targeting Moundou’s media This is not the first time that Nada FM has been subjected to threats and intimidation by the local authorities because of its outspoken coverage. On 23 January, Bessandé and the representatives of two other privately-owned radio stations, Kar-Urba and Bonne Nouvelle, were summoned to police headquarters in Moundou, where they found themselves facing the heads of the police, gendarmerie, homeland security and intelligence services. They accused the journalists of being too critical of the methods of the security services and local governance, and threated to close their media outlets. This intimidation attempt was criticized at the time by Logone Occidental’s governor and the High Council for Communication (HCC), which has sole responsibility for regulating the media in Chad. The HCC itself gave Nada FM a formal warning in April 2016 just because it had broadcast the comments of a parliamentary representative of an opposition party, the Chad Convention for Peace and Development (CTPD). Chad is ranked 121st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Organisation News News The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa June 22, 2017 Law-breaking court sentences journalist to two yearslast_img read more