Dutch govt. rejects ban on filming cops
The Dutch government is against a parliamentary proposal to only allow police officers in videos and photos if their faces and other identifying features have been blurred out. Minister Stef Blok of Security and Justice called the proposal "undesirable" and "unnecessary" in a letter to the Tweede Kamer on Thursday, NU.nl reports.
The proposal was submitted by the PvdA, VVD and SP in response to a number of online videos in which police officers are being provoked while being filmed. PvdA parliamentarian Ahmed Marcouch feels that such videos should only be allowed if the police officer involved is made anonymous.
The government agrees that "publishing videos of police officers aimed at insulting or threatening them is disgusting". But that does not outweigh the restriction of freedom of speech a ban on doing so would entail.
"A new reality in the current police work is that a much larger group than previously can film police officers while at work and that these images are often uploaded almost immediately and then widely distributed over the internet", Blok said. He pointed out that these videos can go both ways - they can show a cop doing her job well, or show mistakes.
According to the government, existing law already provides sufficient opportunities to act against video publishers who insult or threaten police officers. In addition, jurisprudence showed that police officers have to allow more criticism and a "greater privacy violation than private individuals", Blok wrote. "They must keep in mind that they will be recognizably shown in, for examples, video recordings of demonstrations or events."
Blok also pointed out that those who want to insult police officers in a video clearly showing the cop, will likely continue to do so. "It is often difficult, partly because of anonymization tools, to determine who made a publication after it was published." Finding culprits will prove difficult, and putting a ban on showing recognizable officers will therefore not have the intended purpose of preventing the spread of abusive or threatening videos, according to the Minister.