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Trials can now be filmed in France

Trials can now be filmed, according to an official decree issued on Friday 1East April by the government, which wishes to restore the confidence of the French people in a largely unrecognized justice system.

All hearings may be the subject of a filming request: those at the criminal court, the commercial court or the industrial tribunal, but also those usually closed to the public, such as hearings with the juvenile judge, those concerning family matters (divorce, parental authority, etc.) or the enforcement of sentences.

Once authorization has been obtained, if it is a public hearing, those present cannot oppose the recording. If the hearing is not public, the broadcaster must obtain the agreement of all parties.

Dissemination can then take place immediately in the case of the Council of State and the Court of Cassation. In all other cases, it will only be possible when the decision rendered is final (for example, once the deadline for appealing has expired).

The broadcasters must address their request to the Ministry of Justice, which will issue an opinion, the final decision resting with the heads of jurisdictions. Main criterion: the project must have an objective “of public interest of a pedagogical, informative, cultural or scientific nature”specifies the decree published in Official newspaper.

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Anonymity can be guaranteed

Those present, including magistrates, will be able to sign an agreement for the dissemination of their image. Otherwise, the broadcaster will be held to a “duty of concealment” to avoid identifying them. According to the decree: the elements of civil status must thus be “modified or masked, blurred faces and silhouettes and distorted voices”.

This will systematically be the case for minors, protected persons and the police, whose missions require, for security reasons, that their anonymity be guaranteed.

The text also provides for a right to be forgotten: no identification element may be broadcast after five years from the first broadcast. The first to try out this new format will be France Télévisions: France 3 plans to devote a program aimed at ” pedagogic “ on justice from September.

This decision is a small revolution in France, where it was strictly forbidden to photograph and film the hearings since 1954.

A few exceptions had been allowed since 1985 in order to constitute historical archives, but only 15 trials had so far received this authorization, such as that of Klaus Barbie, in 1987, the trial of the attacks of January 2015 and that of the attacks of November 13 , underway in Paris since September.

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The World with AFP

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