Spanish Government Proposes Ban On Filming Police

We have been following the effort by police in the United States and abroad to make filming them in public a crime. For a prior column, click here. We can now add Spain to the list. The Spanish government has proposed a law banning the photographing and filming of members of the police. Since such films have been a major deterrent to police abuse, the law is viewed as understandably threatening to citizens as protests increase over Spain’s economic crisis. Last year, one such film caught police attacking protesters during a visit by the Pope. The Spanish government appears to have found a solution: rather than stop the abuse, you stop people filming the abuse.

The Interior Ministry insists that it is only protecting the lives of police officers by prohibiting “the capture, reproduction and editing of images, sounds or information of members of the security or armed forces in the line of duty.” Director general of the police, Ignacio Cosido, says that such a law reaches “a balance between the protection of citizens’ rights and those of security forces.” Where is the balance? It is an outright ban on filming police. Not only that, the government wants to criminalize the dissemination of images and videos over social networks like Facebook.

Not only does the law sweep into journalistic areas, but it leaves the government with the ability to pick and choose who can photograph them — the type of selective prosecution that is the very hallmark of state control over free speech. In a country not only in the midst of national protests but with a history of authoritarianism under Franco, it is a huge step backward for democratic institutions in Spain.

Source: RT

20 thoughts on “Spanish Government Proposes Ban On Filming Police

  1. This is another illustration of the difficulty of international law.

    We like freedom to photograph and film public officials doing official activities, but some other sovereigns may not.

    International consensus is a must to solve international problems like pollution induced global warming, but there are deniers everywhere, so the problems fester.

  2. Once upon a time, our government claimed to foster freedom around the world—-NB claimed!

    Now it openly and obviously doea the opposite here in the USA. And who among the European nations hesitates more than a year to follow suit? Is Spain alone?

    Spain who muzzled Balthazar(?) has taken the next step.
    Fascism does not die quickly. When will we openly label our own as such?

    Is there any nation leading the world morally today? Can’t come upon one. Oratory: the high ground stands vacated.

  3. I agree that this is poor policy. As long as video is reviewed appropriately to determine officer misconduct, or the lack of, it is bad public policy to believe that members of civil service should not be allowed to withstand the scrutiny of observation.

  4. Its funny that police have no problem when they control the video, only when they don’t control it. I can’t see a law like this withstanding a court challenge in the US but different countries have different standards. Heaven help a tourist shoot video of the scenery in Barcelona that accidentally records a cop stop.

  5. Spain!

    Chevy Chase may have been wrong.

    Generalissimo Francisco Franco may or may not still be dead.

    This kind of law indicates his influence still holds sway either way.

  6. “a balance between the protection of citizens’ rights and those of security forces.” … wow, smarmy politicians and police officials are everywhere … like cockroaches.

  7. GeneH,

    Have you seen the gargantuan monument to Franco? It is, I believe, a monastery. Huge on a hillside. White stone.
    Appropriate. Where they keep the small kids is a good question.

  8. When I was in Spain I hadn’t a clue about Franco but I found that monument to Franco to be huge, cold, scary. I was very uncomfortable there. Maybe his ghost haunts it.

  9. What shocked most tourists when they visited the Soviet Union was not so much the bread lines and horrible food, but the fact that cameras were not allowed almost anywhere in public.

  10. The more I think about this disturbing trend, the more interesting it gets.
    In a effort that probably best began in London well over a decade ago with concerns over tracking IRA operatives, cities are establishing comprehensive networks of cameras to at least track vehicle registrations that come and go. I certainly believe that the objective of good law enforcement was the original basis for the imagery networks, but now wonder to what degree the content is being fairly or honestly managed. Presumably, video evidence obtained by state installed cameras is acceptable, even though a citizen video-taping an event may be verboten.

    There are few things that really bother me, but this is really giving me a bit of that nauseous taste in my back of my mouth.

  11. Franco, Franco bo banko, bannana nanna fo fanko,

    Anyone remember their dictator Franco? Well his memory lives on in Spain.
    And the rain dont stay mainly in the plain either. Catholic countries. Went in dumb come out dumb too.

  12. In memory of the Spanish Inquisition.
    Who will defend us from the church of the ONE PERCENT?

    “The auto-da-fé usually began with the public proclamation of a grace period of 40 days. Anyone who was guilty or knew of someone who was guilty was urged to confess. If they were approached and charged they were then presumed guilty, and since the suspects were not allowed to look at the evidence against them, they could only assume the worst. The auto-da-fé was not an impromptu event, but one which was thoroughly orchestrated. Preparations began a month in advance and only occurred when the inquisition authorities believed there were enough prisoners in a given community or city. Bordering the city’s plaza, an all-night vigil would be held with prayers, ending in Mass at daybreak and a breakfast feast prepared for all who joined in.[10]

    The trial then officially began with a procession of prisoners, who bore elaborate visual symbols on their garments and bodies. These symbols were called sanbenito, and were made of yellow sackcloth. They served to identify the specific acts of treason of the accused, whose identities were kept secret until the very last moment. In addition, most of the time the prisoners had no idea what the outcome of their trial was going to be. The auto-da-fé was also a form of penitence for the public viewers, because they too were engaging in a process of reconciliation and by being involved were given the chance to confront their sins and be forgiven by the Church. The trials concluded when the prisoners were taken outside the city walls to a place called the quemadero or burning place. There the prisoners who were forgiven would fall on their knees in thanksgiving.”

    Wikipedia…..Auto da fe.

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  14. The police have a difficult situation. Do you want to really pound somebody if you don’t need to?

    The police aren’t the military. Do you really think they’re stockpiling 450 million rounds of ammunition for federal special agents?

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