Hey France, yes, ban the burka, but free the camera too!

Great to see that the European Court of Human Rights has just upheld France’s 2010 ban on the burka. No doubt the French quoted Emmanuel Levinas from Totality and Infinity: ‘The face opens the primordial discourse whose first word is obligation’ (p201). But despite this enlightened ban, France’s poorly written, post-Diana anti-paparazzi, privacy laws, in particular article 9 of the Civil Code and article 226-1 of the Penal Code, still mean that street photographers are routinely harassed on Parisean streets by people who believe their right of privacy, or their ‘proprietorial ownership’ of their own face, extends into civic space — thus closing down the street as a space to truly ‘live together’. What about some droits for photographes too?


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