Security law: government in Paris to make adjustments

In response to demonstrations and protests even from their own members, France's governing parties plan to revise Article 24 of the new security law. Christophe Castaner, chairman of Macron's party La Republique en marche, announced the move on Twitter. In its current form, the article would prohibit the publication of images in which individual police officers can be clearly identified. Observers say this is by no means the end of the affair.

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Le Point (FR) /

A striking disparity

The announcement that the article will be revised does not solve the problem, Le Point points out:

“Emmanuel Macron presents himself on the international stage as the herald of freedom. He lectures the Muslim world and the American press on the right to caricature. He claims to be the champion of the rule of law and the spirit of the Enlightenment against the nationalist regression embodied by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. But in France, public freedoms are being disregarded to such an extent that the president's European ambitions no longer seem in line with his domestic political stance. ... It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Macronian state to reconcile protecting the security of all with respecting the rights of all.”

Evrensel (TR) /

The French don't want a police state

The people of France really know how to defend their democracy, comments the left-wing newspaper Evrensel with admiration:

“The names and faces of police officers who disobey laws and harass citizens should not be covered up. On the contrary, they should be exposed. It may seem like this initiative is just a small, simple change in the law, but in fact it is an important issue regarding the choice between a police state and the rule of law. The French are aware of this. Just as they have fought off past attempts by the Macron government to restrict their freedoms, they will also prevent this initiative. We all have something to learn from the French when it comes to protecting, defending and expanding our rights and freedoms.”

La Croix (FR) /

Current laws are adequate

The government would be well advised to abandon its fixation on Article 24, La Croix urges:

“There are plenty of other difficult issues to tackle for one to waste all one's energy bickering about nothing at all. In the opinion of Laurence Vichnievsky, former magistrate and MP for the [centrist] MoDem, current legislation is entirely sufficient to achieve the aims of this article. It would be better to work to restore the relationship of trust between the police and the population, and to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating social and economic consequences.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Macron has neglected security for too long

Le Figaro takes an entirely different view:

“It is to be hoped that the president will remain firm about taking decisive action in areas under his jurisdiction. That is the weak point of his mandate - at a time when the terrorist threat is extreme, crime is increasing, anger is rife and the authority of the state is often undermined. Even without its Article 24, the global security law is necessary in order to specify the tasks of all players who are important for security, both state and private. The bill on separatism is also expected shortly, which is to provide a basis for the fight against radical Islamism. The government must have a steady hand.”

Il Manifesto (IT) /

Orwell sends his regards

The law reflects the methods of a surveillance state, Il Manifesto criticises:

“Castaner says the legislation has been misunderstood, but the demonstrations and protests by journalists, lawyers, NGOs and thousands of citizens, as well as the concerns that have been expressed even by the UN and the EU, simply demand that it be withdrawn. And not only Article 24, but also other parts of the law on 'global security' - a very Orwellian term. Articles 21 and 22 for example, which, according to many opponents, set the stage for 'mass surveillance' through the use of drones during demonstrations - a prelude to 'facial recognition'.”

Népszava (HU) /

Double standards would be fatal

Macron must now remain consistent, says Népszava:

“Thanks to the at times tough police action against suspected terrorists, among other things, support for Emmanuel Macron has grown in recent months. Now he has no choice but to take a resolute stance vis-à-vis the racist and violent security forces. Otherwise he could be accused of double standards. ... Macron must not make the same mistake as Nicolas Sarkozy, who sided with the law enforcement agencies, which led to a shift to the right in society. If Macron's only ambition is to take the wind out of the sails of the right-wing populists by the time the 2022 elections roll around, he could lose his credibility.”