sends word that the French Constitutional Council has just made it illegal to film violence unless you are a professional journalist
(or to distribute a video containing violence). The law was approved exactly 16 years after amateur videographer George Holliday filmed Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King
. The Council was tidying up a body of law about offenses against the public order, and wanted to ban "happy slapping
." A charitable reading would be that the lawmakers stumbled into unintended consequences. Not according to Pascal Cohet, a spokesman for French online civil liberties group Odebi: "The broad drafting of the law so as to criminalize the activities of citizen journalists unrelated to the perpetrators of violent acts is no accident, but rather a deliberate decision by the authorities, said [Cohet]. He is concerned that the law, and others still being debated, will lead to the creation of a parallel judicial system controlling the publication of information on the Internet."