Thursday, March 8, 2007

News from the online frontier

From the European Journalism Centre News Digest:
France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence
The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalises
the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than
professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of
eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of websites
publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.

The decision to approve the law came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles
police officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer
George Holliday in the night of March 3, 1991. If Holliday were to film
a similar scene of violence in France today, he could end up in prison
as a result of the new law, said Pascal Cohet, a spokesman for French
online civil liberties group Odebi. And anyone publishing such images
could face up to five years in prison and a fine of EUR 75,000,
potentially a harsher sentence than that for committing the violent act.

The government has also proposed a certification system for websites,
blog hosters, mobile-phone operators and internet service providers,
identifying them as government-approved sources of information if they
adhere to certain rules. The journalists' organisation Reporters Without
Borders, which campaigns for a free press, has warned that such a system
could lead to excessive self censorship as organisations worried about
losing their certification suppress certain stories.

Source: -
Infoworld via Yahoo News

Turkish court orders YouTube blocked
A Turkish court ordered access to YouTube's website blocked on
Wednesday, after a prosecutor recommended the ban because of videos
allegedly insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Paul Doany, head of Turk Telekom, Turkey's largest telecommunications
provider, said his company had begun immediately enforcing the ban.
Doany said Turk Telekom would allow access to the popular video sharing
site again if the court decision were rescinded. Access from Turkey
might be possible through other service providers, he said.

Over the past week, Turkish media publicised what some called a 'virtual
war' between Greeks and Turks on YouTube, with people from both sides
posting videos to belittle and berate the other. The video prompting the
ban allegedly said Ataturk and the Turkish people were homosexuals, news
reports said. The CNN-Turk website featured a link allowing Turks to
complain directly to YouTube about the 'insult.'

Source: - AP via ABC News

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