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France's top court rejects restriction on police image use

PARIS (AP) — France’s top court ruled Thursday a legal provision restricting the publication of images of on-duty police officers is unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Council said the measure, which was included in a broader security bill, is too vague.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Paris in November to denounce the original wording of the provision, which would have made it illegal to publish police officers’ images with harmful intent.

French lawmakers had since reworded the language to say that helping to identify on-duty police officers online with “obvious” harmful intent was an offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government argued the measure was needed to better protect officers, especially from online acts of hate.

Civil rights activists and journalists’ groups had denounced the revised proposal as subject to interpretation by police officers and therefore dangerous for civil liberties. They also said it would intimidate people who capture photos and videos of officers to try to fight police abuse and discrimination.

The Associated Press