Lawmakers from President Macron's ruling party say they will propose a "complete rewrite" of part of a draft law that would restrict the filming of police, following massive outrage.

Police officers drag a man on the ground during a protest on November 28, 2020 against draft law that criminalises publication of images of on-duty police officers.
Police officers drag a man on the ground during a protest on November 28, 2020 against draft law that criminalises publication of images of on-duty police officers. (AFP)

The French government has dropped a controversial bill that would have curbed the right to film police officers in action, the speaker of French President Emmanuel Macron's ruling party has said.

"The bill will be completely rewritten and a new version will be submitted," Christophe Castaner, head of the LaRem party in the French Parliament, told a news conference.

"We know that questions still persist" about the measure, part of new legislation passed by the National Assembly last week, Castaner said at a press conference alongside other lawmakers.

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Bill dents free speech

Rights campaigners and journalists organisations staged street protests in Paris and other French cities against the proposed security bill that they say would be a violation of the freedom of information.

Saturday's protests were called by Reporters without Borders, Amnesty International France, the Human Rights League, journalists' unions, and other groups.

The proposed measure could create a new criminal offence of publishing images of police officers with the intent to cause them harm.

President Macron's government previously said it is intended to protect police officers from online calls for violence. 

Critics feared that the measure could endanger journalists and other people who take videos of officers at work, especially during violent demonstrations.

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Police officers charged over Black man's beating

Earlier on Monday, four French police officers were charged in connection with the beating of a Black man in Paris, with two held in custody.

The examining magistrate charged three on Monday with "wilful violence by a person holding public authority" and "forgery."

Two of the accused – including the most senior officer, a police brigadier aged 44 – will remain behind bars but the other two were freed on conditional release, a judicial source told AFP, asking not to be named.

Video carried by the Loopsider website shows how music producer Michel Zecler was repeatedly beaten by three officers for several minutes and subjected to racial abuse as he tried to enter his music studio earlier this month.

Commentators say that the images of the beating – first published by the Loopsider news site – may never have been made public if the contentious Article 24 of the security legislation was made law.

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Source: Reuters