France bans "follow us on Twitter" from newscasts

A 1992 French law that prohibits shilling for commercial firms during newscasts has been officially interpreted to mean that newsreaders can no longer mention Facebook or Twitter, unless the story is about Facebook or Twitter -- that is, "Follow us on Twitter" is off-limits.
This means French news organizations are not allowed to urge their audience to "follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/emilprotalinski or "check out my Facebook page at facebook.com/emil.protalinski." Instead, they will have to say "find us on social networking websites" or tell viewers to "check out our webpage at this URL to find links to our pages on social networks."

The French TV regulatory agency Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) insists the French government is simply upholding its laws. "Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?" a CSA spokesperson said in a statement. "This would be a distortion of competition. If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it's opening a Pandora's Box -- other social networks will complain to us saying, 'why not us?'"

France bans Facebook and Twitter from radio and TV (via /.)

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    1. This seems less benevolent in the context of France having one of the least free presses in Western Europe. Here’s a BBC article on how draconian media laws kept the pathetically docile French press from reporting legitimate news about Dominique Strauss-Kahn and other politicians.

      Newscasters in France can get around this ban by simply reporting on this story every day for the rest of eternity. After all, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

      1. This seems less benevolent in the context of France having one of the least free presses in Western Europe.

        Aye, but here in the States they censor themselves without needing bureaucratic interference.

        The trend in the West generally seems to be more toward what the press can’t say and less about what they can say. That trend doesn’t bode so well for our civilization, IMHO.

  1. I cannot find the logic in their statement.

    “This would be a distortion of competition. If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it’s opening a Pandora’s Box — other social networks will complain to us saying, ‘why not us?'”

    So how Facebook and Twitter being the only networks which cannot be named fixes this problem?

    And I doubt that there even was the problem. because, you see, if you can say “follow us on X network” about any network, then if network Y doesn’t get mentions, it’s in no way caused by mentions of Twitter or Facebook. Or was citing of “other social networks” prohibited before and Facebook/Twitter were the only exсуptions of this ban?

    1. RTFA. Twitter and Facebook weren’t the only ones to be banned by this ruling, nor were they the only ones to be allowed before. Note also that this isn’t a change in the law – technically it was illegal to mention them all along. In practice, Facebook and Twitter were the only ones to get a mention, and so it hits them hardest. That’s also incidentally the whole point of this law – to make sure that the news doesn’t favour one company over another.

  2. This article is tagged with “free speech” – can someone explain how this is a free speech issue? Twitter and Facebook are in fact commercial companies, no?

    1. Agreed. This is about news announcers promoting their Twitter and Facebook feeds (and thereby promoting those websites) from the newsdesk. No reason they can’t mention the sites in the promotional spots for the news: put a bumper or a programming advertisement that contains the link. “Follow us on Twitter! Film at 11.”

    2. It’s a free speech issue insofar as it illustrates how there is not Free Speech in France. In fact, a lot of people take American style free-speech for granted and forget how it does not apply in any recognizable way in other countries, especially the sophisticated seeming European ones.

    3. I hope that was a joke.

      The speech burdened is that of the news channel, not the third party social networks. In other words, French law places limits on what the PRESS may or may not say during its broadcasts. Strong bright lines in American law would likely render such a statute overbroad.

  3. In this very specific example of newsreaders, I’m totally in favour or this. We try to fight for an open Internet, where content is not locked in social media prisons (FB, TW…). I can’t see why newscasts should give free advertising to these particular companies.
    It’s early days, but there are “Open” social media alternatives (Diaspora, One social web…)

  4. News organisations are in a tough position here. On one hand, it is in the interests of the journalist and the organisation for them to blog / tweet etc, as it raises their visibility and strengthens the audience. For example: @krishnangm and the Channel 4 news here in the UK.

    On the other, if these blogs / tweets were seen to be exclusively furthering the agenda / values of that organisation they would in fact lose credibility: it’s better for everyone if they carry the disclaimer that “these views are not necessarily those of X.”

    So I think it’s definitely possible to see the blogs / tweets as furthering the individual rather than the company, and in any case furthering the host website, so broadcasters shouldn’t be criticised for not wanting Twitter advertised on their time.

  5. Unless Facebook and Twitter become common terms for an activity, like “Xerox” and “Kleenex” became, then I think this ban is ok. Why should news favor a particular company, any particular company? Unless they get some money for it and the moment the newscaster accepts it, then they become advertisers and not newscasters.

  6. Brilliant! I hadn’t thought of the implications of national existing media using such statements, but in hindsight it makes perfect sense. Shame on those who can’t see the ‘logic’ behind the supposed Free Market bastion of capitalism; which excludes the blind favor for corporations in the U.S. view. Anyone who is for the level playing field of any business/industry should see that social networking today is in the turn-of-the-[last]-century American Telegraph & Telephone era, with the industry dominated by a handful of financially-backed groups, and not necessarily those offering the greatest quality or which are best for the public.

  7. france is quickly becoming the most f’ed up country in europe. 3 strikes and now this.

  8. I actually agree with the French position on this and wish more Americans were in tune with the constant bombardment of advertising in our lives. I am also someone who gets concerned with the overuse of a singular private enterprise – beit Microsoft Windows, Google, or Facebook – to have control over so many aspects of our personal and professional lives. They are a business, and regardless what shiny objects they put in front of you (Farmville anyone?), they are there to profit off of you. That doesn’t make them an evil empire, but we should be aware as such and be consciously aware of how that is effecting our lives.

    At the same time, Facebook is just the replacement for AOL. Remember the AOL Keywords that speckled everything from fast food commercials to ABC News station identifications? Not knowing if the interpretation is specific to Facebook or Twitter, but they will be playing a cat and mouse game trying to keep their interpretations relevant.

    1. Facebook is the new AOL, but Zuckerberg isn’t sending me any floppy disks! (ノ_-。)

  9. People mention Twitter and Facebook because those are the only ones that matter, they are the popular networks. Upholding the law in this fashion somehow implies other networks weren’t getting any traffic because of the media preferences when in reality the media simply followed to where their audiance already was.

    It’s the viewers that expect and demands a presense on social media sites and they dictate the choice of platform, the news media themself woulden’t bother otherwise.
    The law won’t change that.

  10. I really don’t understand the logic in this law in the first place. I understand that some people are worried by the monopoly of certain businesses in our lives, but I don’t see what this does to challenge the dominance of facebook and twitter. The accounts will still exist in the same place, they’ll just be a little harder to find or audiences will simply pick up the code of social network meaning facebook. It would make sense to me if news organisations were forced to maintain profiles on a number of social networking sites, but the decision has already been made by the audience of what networks to use, the news is just following the demand. Should they be banned from putting up their telephone numbers in case it creates a bias against the postal system?

  11. By the same logic, it should be illegal to give out the actual adresses of news agencies or broadcasting offices, because relaying that information would mean favouring certain area codes or streets over other neighbourhoods, wich could clearly affect the property value, amongst other things.

    It DOES become a freedom of speech issue when these rules constrain the way we interact on a day-to-day level.

    1. It looks like a simple situation where advertising should be treated as such. Broadcasters have to operate within limits on the amount of time they can devote to advertising. Product placement is a way to stretch those limits, until the regulators catch up. All they have to do is count the news broadcasts as adverting, then they can mention facebook and twitter to their hearts content.

    2. Stretching it. Again this is not an attack on social media. They are not trying to change anything. They are simply following the laws set out to prevent advertising from creeping into news broadcasts directly. Mentioning Twitter and Facebook would be the same as mentioning Pepsi or Mercedes without any link to an actual news story. They are commercial companies, it’s simple. The news channels choice of social media network is the same as their choice for automobiles are soft drinks. They can say “follow us online or visit our website http://www.blahblahb.com for more info”

      It’s not a free speech issue.

  12. That’s kind of weird since it’s essentially just a testimonial “we chose to use twitter and facebook, come find us there!”

    But at least it’s theoretically even-handed, so while it’s repressive it isn’t prejudicially so.

  13. They all have twitter accounts and facebook accounts, they just can’t advertise for them. It would be the same as saying “check out our story at “shakeyspizza.com” or “all of our news anchors drive Fiat.” FB and Twitter make money. It’s not very complicated. They are not free, they are commercial enterprises. It’s not that ridiculous. The news agencies are free to use whatever social media service they want but they can’t mention it on air because it would count as advertising. Seriously, how many people followed 60 minutes or Nightline on twitter after watching them mention it? Does anyone really count on someone on TV telling them who to follow?

    France24 has 3-4 different language broadcasts of their news. They have a submission based “blogger” style news show where they accept audio/video submissions. They have active blogs on their website. They have an amazing amount of ways to follow them, podcast,desktop app, facebook,twitter, podcast,live streaming for all their channels, iOs and Android apps. This is not an attack on social media.

    When you go http://www.france24.com/en/# you can see the twitter and facebook and newsletter follow options.

    Outisde of that major point, FB and Twitter related accounts for news are shallow and much less informative or useful than the actual website. It’s basically FBand Twitter advertising over an RSS feed. There is practically no added value to “big news in Russia” with a tiny URL tweet linking to their own website or even their own twitter. Look at http://www.facebook.com/cnn if you click more it takes you to twitter… When you are at twitter the link takes you to their own website…

    The difference to me is that France still has actual news channels, unlike the US. There isn’t a hazy blend between topical/editorial/entertainment and “regular” news. The advertising is much more public radio like, they play one or 2 commecials constantly. It’s not 3 minutes of solid commercials every 12 minutes. France24 is as you may have guessed a 24hr news channel. They loop to fill time. They have a schedule like news stations used to have, “this” happens on the hour every hour, 15 after etc. They switch anchors for desk style reporting mid day and those people report the same news if nothing has happened. Those same anchors talk to guests… it feels like real news…. Just watch for 15 minutes.

    When I visit home in the US Television and News feel incredibly different. There are way too many commercials. There is an abundance of editorial/entertainment shows pretending to be news. The stories are all sensational and focus on a narrow band of news, none of it interesting or original.

    Also any public funded Television station is phasing out commercials. You can watch an entire movie on a public channel without a break. You can watch entire episodes of shows WITHOUT a break. It’s pretty amazing.

  14. “Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?” a CSA spokesperson said in a statement. “This would be a distortion of competition. If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it’s opening a Pandora’s Box — other social networks will complain to us saying, ‘why not us?'”

    Holy cow, that’s like a line straight out of Atlas Shrugged. “Why not us?” is easy to answer: because your product isn’t as good. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that fb and twitter are American websites and companies.

    If France’s newscasts are paid for by state funds I can see some justification of this–if I’m a French taxpayer and run some competing website, I don’t want to hear every night part of my tax dollars advertising for my competitor. If they’re not though, this is just trampling all over the newscasts’ freedom of speech.

    Anyway, when they say “Follow us on twitter” I don’t really consider it, and obviously there intent it not advertising for twitter. They’re trying to create some form of interaction between the station and its viewers.

    1. “If France’s newscasts are paid for by state funds I can see some justification of this–if I’m a French taxpayer and run some competing website,”
      They are

  15. It’s similar in logic to the anti-monopoly ruling against Microsoft – by establishing their software as the standard (judged to be by unfair means), Microsoft ensured that there wasn’t enough choice for the consumer.

    It could be said that social networks such as FB and Twitter gain even more by having this established foothold – people use social networks mainly in order to communicate with other people, and so if everyone’s on one particular network, there’s only one real choice in which network to use.

    It’s a sort of Catch-22 situation – if everyone uses one social network, there’s no reason for anyone to use other social networks, and so those networks never get the opportunity to present themselves as a viable alternative, and so there’s no reason for people to join them – and so on.

    Potential upcoming networks are choosing to compete on the only other real point of attraction – that they (such as Diaspora) are open source and won’t compromise their users’ privacy, or use their details for profit. They simply can’t compete on the main point of attraction for a social network – that they have a large user base with which potential new users can communicate.

    If all the traditional media broadcasters emphasise the use of one or two networks above the others (even if their competitors are currently largely non-existent), this entrenchment is compounded, and increases even further the barriers to entry for any potential competitors.

    1. I’m sorry Mr. Danson, but you are wrong about the Microsoft-DOJ-case. The DOJ didn’t prosecute them because they were a monopoly, the prosecuted them because they abused their position as a monopoly. They would, for instance, threaten OEMs with withdrawing sale of Windows licenses if they insisted on having Netscape or Java (Sun’s Java, that is) installed by default (and it’s worth remembering that the DOJ won). If Microsoft hadn’t behaved like complete fucking assholes, they could have had their monopoly all the wanted, with no one bothering them.¨

      Anyway, back to topic: first off all, this isn’t a free speech issue. Either the newscasts are government-run (in which case obviously the government can tell them whatever they want), or they are on publicly licensed channels, which means that they have a contract with the government. It needs to be that way, because bandwith is limited, and there is not room for an infinite amount of people to speak on it. If the channel can’t live with the rules in the contract, then they are perfectly free to not sign it and start a show on cable or the internet instead. In America, the FCC has rules that prohibits people from saying “fuck” on NBC or showing their dongs, but that doesn’t mean that the First Amendment has collapsed. This is perfectly legal. This is not, in any way, shape or form, an issue of free speech.

      That leaves the question: Ok, so it’s not an issue of free speech, but isn’t the rule still kind-of silly and counter-productive? What if you want to follow them on twitter? I don’t think so. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that people who are delivering news should be shilling for private companies (which is in essence what they are doing). I think the French are absolutely in the right here, both legally and ethically.

  16. I feel I am taking crazy pills. Mentioning a commercial enterprise outside of a news story related to them, regardless of how “standard” it seems to the rest of the world is illegal.

  17. The USA is a failed State. Its running a deficit it cannot sustain and a debt it will *never* repay. Its manufacturing base, representing 70% of its economy only a few years ago now only represents 30% of GDP. Your almighty US dollar is going the way of the Reichsmark. Wake up and small the coffee: while productive citizens pay relatively reasonable taxes to sustain a social state, corporations are pillaging your country and have become so entrenched in your daily lives that you don’t see it anymore.

    The role of corporations is *NOT* to maximize your well being. Their role is to maximize shareholder value and the wealth of their rulers (both within and outside of their entity i.e. politicians).

    In the US, we live in such constant bombardment of lame advertising, you get the impression you have to be plugged into a “branded” media in order to belong.

    This is not how life should be. You should NOT depend on corporations (including Facebook) for your well being.

    The Internet was an amazing place (and still is thanks to sites like boing boing) because it had not been taken over by a few selfish interests.

    Nevertheless, thank GOD there are still countries like France where you can watch an entire movie on public television WITHOUT 22mn of ads per 60mn of programming and listen to a newscast without having to deal with brands.

    Yes, the French pay for this luxury (yearly contribution to national TV called “redevance”) but they get something out of it.

    US$ tax dollars are spent to kill hundreds of thousands of people in countries where your precious oil lays and bail out greedy bankers on Wall Street.

    But as long as the average American gets his daily brainwashing of brands, corporations, the junk food they sell and the junk products they push on you, all is well in the land of the free — to consume brands in order to be happy. As we all know and as you know from within, this does not bring happiness, yet so few challenge the system….

  18. “Other social networks will complain to us saying, ‘why not us?'”

    Because you sucks at being popular.

    That´s why. Period.

  19. As a digital music fan from the beginning, I used to find it deeply frustrating that the media would refer to iPods and iTunes as if they were the only options out there for 21st-Century music consumption. Now the market has finally diversified to the point that even the thickest journalist can see it – they would know that “download it from iTunes!” is a commercial endorsement.

    Facebook and Twitter are now in that same position of unquestioned hegemony, but hopefully something else will eventually emerge to wake people up. Like Google Buzz LOLOLOL.

  20. if you put ketchup on your burger and on your fries and on your eggs and on your grilled cheese, then everything sorta tastes like ketchup.
    it’s not about who’s the leader in the tech at the time.
    I’m sick of seeing facebook’s name in so many ads at the end, it’s free publicity to a not that interesting option.

  21. The whole scenario is just like other buissness fields! For example vegetables! You see European, Chinese and America Farmers or the food specialised Companies from these countrys, sold their stuff worldwide, even in the poorest countrys in the world. They fight for right in special organisations. On the otherside african farmers maybe organiszed african companys, who wanted to sell thier stuff in Europe/Amerika can’t, because taxes etc. are very high. You can find dutch onions in africa but africans onios in Europe? Well?… Remember you can’t say we wanted a free market for all and close it off for other countrys. If you wanted a world with free Markets, free Press and free Internet then it should go for all! I can understand the argumentation of the french a little bit, ’cause Google, FB amd co are omnipresent in the Internet, little social Networks are not so much presentet. But building up Networks and Comunitys takes a little time. Google and Co are grown over the years and they have not gone from zero to 100%! Most of the Poeple tend to forget this.

  22. During California’s recall campaign against Gray Davis, a news channel once breathlessly announced that “Arnold Schwarzenegger has released a campaign ad!” as if this were somehow unusual or newsworthy.

    They then played the ad, in its entirety, without any criticism.

    With devastating results to California’s economy.

    I’d rather have the French model on this. F— the First Amendment!

  23. Dear Cory, I don’t see what is the problem, really. Anyway, we are forced by the Toubon Law (Allgood in english) to translate everything in french. So let’s start. How do you translate “Follow us on Twitter or Facebook” in french ? Very easy : “Suivez nous sur Face de livre ou Gazouille”. Voilà !

  24. I wish the USA would pass a law against TV news teaser segments that just say “Is the world going to end tomorrow? The shocking answer after the commercial break”. As long as there are advertisements to be sold the news will continue selling.

  25. I note Cory decided to post about France four minutes after posting “Three frogs atop each others’ shoulders seek White Star Coffee.” :-}

    As for ban, je l’aime.

    I don’t see the need to mention a social media presence in a broadcast. People who want to find news organizations on social networking sites will look for them there regardless of whether they’re prompted by the news organization or not.

    I don’t quite get the need for everything to have a social media presence. It’s somewhat as if people want the entire Internet reduplicated on individual websites. Monopoly FTW.

    I wouldn’t much care for “visit our news store on cafepress.com” either.

    1. 1) White Star Coffee is no longer in operation.
      2) The post was about WSC, which would be legal in France, as would a story about FB leaking the personal information of their users.

  26. I think it works, because those two sites are the in now, but could be replaced over time and won’t make them looked dated. Like when all the fox tv stations went to the “myfox” format, they looked cheesy and dated right off the bat.

  27. It’s refreshing to see a media regulatory agency actually doing its job! But it makes me yearn for television news reporting that is completely funded by the public. The “fourth estate” here in the U.S. is broken, poisoned. What good is a “free market” when we’re all slaves to it? When corporations control the government, the market is anything but free.

    I used to work for a very high-profile ad agency. A woman who worked there once gave a speech, and to paraphrase, “You probably don’t know me, and that’s for the best. Because I work best when I’m hidden from view. I make things happen for our clients, things that to the average person seem natural, spontaneous. But they aren’t. When you see a film star talk about their new Prius on Conan, that’s not accidental. We paid the actor to give that amusing story. When Good Morning America devotes an entire segment to a new gadget, that was arranged by me. I change the discourse of the country about a product by inserting it into places that don’t seem like advertising.”

  28. So people have become so jaded about advertising we don’t even recognize it in modern forms? Of course saying “follow us on Twitter/Facebook/etc” is shilling for the website. Why else does every social networking site have tools to allow folks to easily put those icons and “Like” buttons everywhere? Yes, even BB has Facebook and Twitter links in the header. That’s how those sites get their users to advertise for them — sometimes called ‘crowdsourcing’. Anyone ever see a traditional ad for Twitter or Facebook? They grow and increase their value to advertisers by network effects.

    Remember, Twitter and Facebook are not the internet, they just happen to be strange attractors around which the flow of interest is gathered for now, and they are in business to deliver eyes to advertisers, not provide a service for the users.

  29. I don’t see any problem with this, the French don’t allow any commercial advertising in or around their news and ‘follow us on ‘ is just that.

    It really annoys me when British TV does it, even the BBC which has no advertising and have a policy of being ‘platform neutral’. They seem recently to have toned down the constant promotion for iPhones that some programmes had

  30. Woot! Woot! Yippee! Yippie! Rolling handstands!

    Our local NPR broadcast affiliate has basically become (in addition to its other functions) one long ad for Facebook. All day long*, it’s “like us on Facebook”, “friend us on Facebook”, “discuss this story and more on our Facebook page”. It’s nasty.

    * Continually. Not continuously.

  31. So can they direct viewers to their own web addresses? Those are corporate sites, right?

    Can they say “Vous regardez nouvelles canal X à neuf?”

    And what if they say they’re not a news organization; can they shill then?

    I can see why this would make sense for a publicly owned/subsidized news outlet like the BBC or NPR. But don’t private news organizations have to compete for readers/viewers just like Twitter and Facebook have to compete for users?

    Does and/or should this apply to internet-based news sources? I can see the argument for keeping ads out of broadcast news stories since broadcasters are using a public commons, specifically bands on the finite radio spectrum. And you could maybe stretch it to cable channels since they are continuously using bandwidth. But before long most, if not all, news will be netcast and only create a bandwidth load when users choose to access it. In which case the news sources can proliferate without limit and the user can decide for herself whether to frequent news sites that imbed ads inside news stories or relegate them to adjacent spaces and times.

  32. A lot of my co-workers were shocked by the way the US news handled aspects of the situation. In France they don’t show pictures of people in handcuffs before they are convicted. I never really thought about it. To them showing pictures of someone in handcuffs or any prison related scenario pre verdict is unfair to the person in question because it implies guilt.

    Do we need a law that says that, no, but would the media ever police themselves to that degree? Would they actually try to avoid potentially smearing someone over ratings?

    As far as what freedom of speech goes… The strikes here this past summer were amazing. I was there for each of them. Kids climbing monuments and hanging signs, waving flags, while hanging from them. People can’t even dance in front of the Jefferson memorial without getting choke slammed. Could imagine people hanging signs from it and climbing it?

    This is getting away from the point, and maybe my view is skewed because the LAPD were my last example of peace officers… but things in general, here in Paris, seem way more common sense based when it comes down to a practical everyday level. For example,you can drink alcohol in the street. Imagine that? You can open a container of liquid and drink from it without getting harassed by police. Maybe it’s not the greatest example and I don’t drink a lot but it seems kind of ridiculous now to not be able to go to a park with a beer or bottle of wine without the vague fear of being fined. I feel pretty free here. I had the cops come up to me once while sitting with friends near the river and they started to ask me questions in French. My heart sank. Was I in trouble? What did I do? I had a beer in my hands…maybe they thought I had drugs?! What did they want. I stared at them open mouthed and my friends chimed in. They were just wondering what kind of bicycle I had and where I got it. They stayed for 15 minutes speaking with my French friends laughing and then walked off and told us to have a nice day. My friends asked me why I was so scared initially, they saw it on my face.

    to end the ramble, from my limited time here things seem more free on a day to day level than LA where maybe a SWAT team will roll up at a Farmers Market to bust someone selling Raw Milk…

    1. In France they don’t show pictures of people in handcuffs before they are convicted. I never really thought about it. To them showing pictures of someone in handcuffs or any prison related scenario pre verdict is unfair to the person in question because it implies guilt.

      The possible public prejudice against the accused from showing arrest photos seems far less problematic than the possibility of dragging someone off to prison without public scrutiny. There’s a reason for a free press, jury trials, habeas corpus, etc. Tyranny thrives in the absence of public scrutiny.

      1. What is the appropiate level of scrutiny? If we know why someone was arrested and the circumstances of the arrest where is the line before it goes into too much? Can’t we have all of the information related to the incident without having the more sensational elements headlining the story. Is having a picture of someone in handcuffs holding their head down or looking tired something we need to go along with the facts?

        I am undecided. It starts to feel like the news camps that pop up around a missing kid or a kidnapping. At what point are any of those reporters or news agencies adding relavent information to the situation. It’s 60 reporters asking a crying family the same questions.

        Someone gets arrested, it’s 60 photos of a sad looking person in handcuffs. There is no way to look innocent in hand cuffs. If you cry or smile people will assume something for the worse. If they find them innocent later the stigma associated with all that press will stick. Again I’m not saying it should be illegal but what is it adding other than the facts of the incident? Is a headshot or other photo not enough? What if the news outlets go the other way… “respected official accused of ______” and there is a photo of that person feeding the homeless or any other charity based act. If it can go one way can’t it go the other way too? Is that ethically wrong?

        1. To them showing pictures of someone in handcuffs or any prison related scenario pre verdict is unfair to the person in question because it implies guilt.

          Why? Wouldn’t this simply reinforce the fallacy that allegation is guilt?

          People can’t even dance in front of the Jefferson memorial without getting choke slammed.

          Inside. The law does not forbid dancing outside. It’s a stupid law either way, but I’m nitpicky.

          This is getting away from the point, and maybe my view is skewed because the LAPD were my last example of peace officers…

          As a former Angeleno who’s lived on both U.S. coasts and in between (currently Austin) I can tell you that the LAPD are the bottom of the barrel. Forty years of gang warfare have fostered an inveterate siege mentality that makes them sometimes worse than the LA gangs. After graduating from USC I did a six-month internship at a University of Iowa research lab. The cops in Iowa City actually solicited residents for suggestions on how they could better serve them. They were so frighteningly polite that, like your experience with the Paris wardens, I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I suspect this sort of thing has more to do with the community than the laws. Laws can only go so far when it comes to making people treat each other civilly.

          to end the ramble, from my limited time here things seem more free on a day to day level than LA where maybe a SWAT team will roll up at a Farmers Market to bust someone selling Raw Milk…

          It’s all relative, and in some ways France is probably freer while the U.S. is in other areas. Part of the issue is that stuff like the Jefferson Memorial fiasco, the 2005 Paris riots, Sarkozy’s xenophobic Burqa bans and Florida’s blood money story attract more attention that peaceful coexistence and good professional police work.

          There is no way to look innocent in hand cuffs.

          I would argue that this perception is more of a problem than showing someone in handcuffs.

          If you cry or smile people will assume something for the worse.

          Some will. They’re the problem.

          If they find them innocent later the stigma associated with all that press will stick. Again I’m not saying it should be illegal but what is it adding other than the facts of the incident? Is a headshot or other photo not enough? What if the news outlets go the other way… “respected official accused of ______” and there is a photo of that person feeding the homeless or any other charity based act. If it can go one way can’t it go the other way too? Is that ethically wrong?

          Here is my position. The job of the news is to report the facts. Pictures back up facts. If the assumption is that the public is not mature enough to reserve judgment, that assumption implies that someone or some party is mature enough to decide what the public can handle. For one person or group to decide what information another is able to intelligently process is the crux of censorship. If you cannot trust the public with information, then your society has much deeper problems than a lack of transparency.

          1. Pictures do not necessarily „back up facts“ That’s simplistic thinking.

            It’s obviously wrong, too. I have a picture of Darth Vader chopping of Luke Skywalker’s hand. It’s on film.

            So, what are the facts in this picture?

            What are the facts of a picture of someone in handcuffs?

            That someone was handcuffed? Sorry, I’ll take the police’s and observers’ word for it.

          2. So, what are the facts in this picture?

            That you have good taste in movies.

            What are the facts of a picture of someone in handcuffs?
            That someone was handcuffed?

            And that someone took a picture of it.

            Sorry, I’ll take the police’s and observers’ word for it.

            I’ll take the police’s word, the observers’ words and any observers’ pictures that depict it. The more independent corroboration of events, the more accountability of those vested with the authority over the citizenry to enforce the law, and the less opportunity for authorities to abuse their power or for arrestees to falsely accuse authorities of abusing their power. Authority creates an unequal balance of power that can corrupt those vested with it. Redundant transparency of its exercise can serve to shed light on any corruption and exonerate false allegations of corruption. Providing this daylight is partially the responsibility of the press, partially of the people and partially of the law itself.

            No need to feel sorry. I don’t live in France. I live in a country with, like all complex polities, its own unique litany of problems, but not this particular one. Just out of curiosity, what is the law regarding photography of arrests in Germany?

    2. Beaver thinks the french police were nice because he could drink alcohol in public & the cops liked his bike. He’d like any number of less developped countries even more where the cops would sell him the heroin at a nice price & help him shoot up…

      An abjectly stupid side effect of the “show no evil trademark” french law is that all newscasts that have portions that were taken in public or with visible logos (like somebody wearing a pair of D&G sunglasses) are now broadcast mirrored left to right. This is easier than the blurring out that is used otherwise. Somehow, mirroring the image is supposed to protect the supremely vulnerable french consumer from all those nasty trademarks that they see, buy & use everyday in real life.

      The only real effect it has had so far is that kids in france are learning to read right-left as well as they read left-right. I await studies on the resulting progression of dylexia with bated breath.

      1. If you want to take it there, sure.

        I don’t like having a gun drawn on me for expired tags.
        I don’t like not being able drink a glass of wine in a park.
        I like not being afraid of police officers.
        I must want to buy heroin from them. Natural progression.

        Some of it’s good some of it’s bad… remember the Janet Jackson nipple slip? We could go tit(teehee) for tat on ridiculous ways that both the US and France “protect us.” The dangers of nipples or of media explotation by corporations… both wrongly implemented but at least the core of one is slightly less ridiculous

        I feel more comfortable in a society where the police are not feared where consumption of alcohol is not treated criminally, and gay people can legally be together in union recognized by the government. I want to have a nice conversation with a cop, drink some wine, and have awesome gay “married sex.”

        In France they are “protecting” you from corporate stuff, by your example. In America they are “protecting” you from Nipples and curse words. Niether system is perfect but I am enjoying the one that treats me more like an adult overall. France wins right now…. although Jersey Shore is coming to French TV.

  33. Add to my list of common sensey type things in the above post same sex unions… and then forgive me for typing like a child. My only semi valid excuse is that as I try to learn French my English suffers. I spend a larger part of my day speaking like a cave man to try and communicate with as few tenses and idioms as possible. I will drop idioms like a motherf’r if I don’t pay attention. “We dropped the ball, we need to get on top of this before it bites in the ass or we’ll be up shit creek”

  34. Shouldn’t newscasters be banned from creating Facebook/Twitter accounts for work purposes then? That’d be more to the point.

    I mean, just having a popular Twitter feed is “promoting” Twitter, even if they never mention it on the air.

    If you let them have an official or quasi-official Facebook page, then the fact that they have it is… well, a fact. It seems kinda strange to ban newscasters from reporting facts.

    1. It’s only about publicly promoting a product/service. Twitter and Facebook make money from them saying “Go here for more.” It’s hard to separate those sites from their corporate roots but they still are companies selling a product. If a news anchor said randomly “According to my Rolex it’s time for the weather” it would be the same thing or if the friendly banter after an interview mentioned something specific like someone being happy with their new volvo.

      There are a ton of factual things the news could say that would qualify as an endorsment. They use Windows OS, or HP, or only use Epson printers. They buy supplies from this store or that store. All of those statements are probably fact but saying them during reporting the news would qualify it as an endorsement.

      There is nothing that says the news can’t use social media they just can’t promote the services by name because it is technically an endorsement.

      1. It’s only about publicly promoting a product/service. Twitter and Facebook make money from them saying “Go here for more.” It’s hard to separate those sites from their corporate roots but they still are companies selling a product. If a news anchor said randomly “According to my Rolex it’s time for the weather” it would be the same thing or if the friendly banter after an interview mentioned something specific like someone being happy with their new volvo.

        I think the internet is still “public”. They are still linking to Facebook and promoting their Facebook page in other ways.

        Also, while I can tell you the time without mentioning my Rolex, I think I might need to mention that my Facebook page is on Facebook.

        It just seems like an incoherent policy. They can’t use these sites without intrinsically promoting them in some way. So either they should be able to use these commercial networks or they shouldn’t be. Being legally obliged to be coy about it is stupid.

        1. I’m not disagreeing with you. I just keep kicking the dead horse of technically they are abiding by the law. A broadcasted endorsement is a broadcasted endorsement.

          The people I asked at work seem to fall on the side of “It’s a company, why should they get a free shout out.” I’m not saying that to try and back my view. I think it’s more representative of them not caring too much about it and at the same time having a negative attitude towards corporations. Which is why maybe it’s not a major issue.

          One of the guys mentioned that he watches 30 Rock and that he noticed Apple computers are all over the show, and at the end have a blurb saying that promotional consideration etc etc…He found it really strange. In the show they also make fun of the idea of product tie ins with the GE stuff. In other shows it always stands out that a watch company or phone manufacturer has paid them to use a soon to be released phone. I remember reading, this could be way wrong, that Google and or Bing, have paid money to films to have them verbally say “bing that” or “google that.”

          My eagerness to try and defend or rationalize the no Facebook or Twitter thing is being comprimised for my loathing of that sort of thing. I admit I am tainted and can’t see the issue objectivley. I fear that I am starting to think the world is stupid and we need to save it, yet I hate seatbelt laws… maybe it’s not so much that I actually think everyone is stupid and needs saving so much as I think that our culture is being polluted by advertising. This law feels ok in that light but I can see the logic that says “this is just kind of stupid”

          1. I think it’s more representative of them not caring too much about it and at the same time having a negative attitude towards corporations. Which is why maybe it’s not a major issue.

            I don’t think it is either. My concern would be whether they will try to extend this to online news outlets and perhaps even aggregators like…well, BoingBoing. Does the law apply to cable news or only broadcast news? Can they link to social media on their websites? Will blogs eventually be subject to it? If so, how broadly would the law define a blog?

            My eagerness to try and defend or rationalize the no Facebook or Twitter thing is being comprimised for my loathing of that sort of thing. I admit I am tainted and can’t see the issue objectivley. I fear that I am starting to think the world is stupid and we need to save it, yet I hate seatbelt laws… maybe it’s not so much that I actually think everyone is stupid and needs saving so much as I think that our culture is being polluted by advertising. This law feels ok in that light but I can see the logic that says “this is just kind of stupid”

            I not infrequently have the same sentiments. But I stop myself short of supporting paternalistic laws by remembering that the laws too are written by mere human beings and can thus do just as much harm as their absence.

            There is an old expression that law are instituted by Peter when sober, for Peter when drunk. That probably oversimplifies the matter, but it makes a good point that we accept limits on our liberty because we recognize that a stable society ideally should balance overlapping liberties so that Peter’s liberty doesn’t curtail Paulina’s liberty, or vice versa. When Peter’s and Paulina’s laws limit what adults can decide for themselves, however, and Ted and Tina are over here exclaiming “but you have no just right to tell us how we can and cannot interact of our own free will!” I tend to believe that that situation is less stable and egalitarian than one where Peter, Paulina, Ted and Tina can all decide for themselves what they will and won’t do with each other.

            Things get thorny when you factor in public commons such as the broadcast spectrum or a commemorative memorial, but I prefer to err on the side of liberty unless doing so clearly causes some palpable harm.

    1. Hah, this thread needs more bald-faced Randian outrage.

      So there are only people that agree with the wisdom of this ban, and Randians?

      In that case I think there are only people that disagree with the wisdom of this ban, and Stalinists.

      Oh, wait, no I don’t. I believe people can disagree without demonizing each other and reducing their opponents’ arguments to straw men.

  35. I completely agree with this.
    If anything it makes people more aware that Facebook and Twitter are both commercial ventures.

    It’s also commendable that they’ve taken such a bold, strong step.
    I think France is in the right with this.

    As for arguments about how this impedes on free speech, I don’t see that as the intent.

    The intent is to not favor one company over another by lessening what could be considered as free advertising.

    Also people are saying what basically equates to “How far is enough/too far?”

    I think in regards to that, you can’t really know for sure. Laws change because the needs and wants of the people (and/or government) changes.

    I think what they’ve done here is a definite step in the right direction though.

  36. I love how Anglo-Saxon media enjoy piling on foreign countries laws when some Anglo-Saxon business/corporate entity is mentioned. FYI, French TVs and Radio channels are prohibited from mentioning brand names *uniquely when they are NOT related to a news story*, and that law existed waaaayyyy before Facebook or Twitter were created.
    That also goes for Renault, Evian, Danone and other French corporate behemoths’ brands. So to avoid product placement within a newscast. If those brands make the news (i.e., Facebook or Twitter reach the billioneth user), then their name will be uttered on the news, so, no, they are not “banned” or “censored”. Its not like 4-letter words or Janet Jackson’s tits on US television, don’t worry. These, incidentally, are not “banned” from French TV, but they strangely don’t interest French media that much, or maybe not for so long.

    Which has not to do so much with free speech (which, it’s true, isn’t guarantied by the French Constitution), but with the laws governing the financing of both private and public medias in France.

    There are plenty of things that suck in France, legally speaking – and so is the case in the US – but frankly, making such a fuss about two poor, poor US social network’s names being “banned” from French airwaves is blown completely out of proportions.

    And now, please excuse me while I’m going to find something to scapegoat Canada with. Or Finland, people never give Finland enough attention.

  37. Hey, wait a minute… Isn’t france the country with the president who wants to control the internet? Or at least let big-biz and big-gov, control the internet? (You know, ala the EG-8 thingie)?

    I’m confuzzled now.

  38. They should just say: “Don’t you dare look us up on Facebook or Twitter because your government doesn’t want you to.”

  39. Late to the party, I think it makes sense. Instead of saying one week, “Follow us on Facebook”, then the next week, “Follow us on Facebook and Twitter”, why not just say, “Follow us on the usual social media services”? People will find them.

  40. “follow us on Twitter” = and advertisement for twitter: that’s pretty clear.

    ANY “news” with embedded advertising is not really “news”, it is persuasion.

    Want to advertise Twitter? Then do NOT call your program a “news” program – that would be lieing.

    To the extent that one relies only upon TV and /or radio “news”(sic) , precisely to that extent is one uninformed.

    1. To the extent that one relies only upon TV and /or radio “news”(sic) , precisely to that extent is one uninformed.

      Who even watches the news anymore? I listen to NPR while I work, but that’s it. Reading is faster and commercial free.

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