As PressTV reports, Spain is considering a ban on filming and photographing the police while they are on duty.
Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said that the government is considering the ban on capturing, playing back and processing of images, sounds or data of Spanish security forces who are “in the exercise of their functions.”
The government’s plan which was unveiled on Friday comes amid a crackdown on protests against harsh austerity measures and spending cuts across the debt-wracked country.
Critics consider the measure as a violation of the freedom of speech in the country, but the Spanish officials insist that it is needed to uphold “dignity of police and security forces.”
The “dignity of police and security forces”? Really? Is that the best you can do?
The ability to film the police is one of the only safeguards citizens have against police brutality/police misconduct. Without video and audio evidence, most accusations would become “he said/he said” affairs, with one of the “he’s” being a respected member of law enforcement. I’d like to think that the majority of law enforcement personnel are honest people who want to do the best job they can serving and protecting the citizens in their jurisdiction. But anyone who reads Dispatches from the Culture Wars, or follows the issue at all realizes that some cops are more than willing to lie on police reports, plant drugs on suspects, and use unnecessary force in the process of “protecting” the public. Personally, I think that all police officers should have a camera filming as part of their uniform; like dash cameras on police cruisers, except for the officer themselves.
The obvious question is this: What do you have to hide?
Honest cops should love having a record of their actions. It can serve as protection against false accusations of misconduct/brutality. Bad cops, not so much. This isn’t about “the dignity of police and security forces.” It’s about protecting them when their actions cross over the line of legality and it is a ticket to rampant abuse of authority.
With Spain in economic crisis and with protesters taking to the streets all over the nation, enacting this into law would be a clear signal to law enforcement; “We don’t care how you do it, but take care of the protesters.”
The police are public servants. They are supposed to exist to protect and serve the public and the public interest. More and more it seems that they are now only protecting and serving the ruling class.
Are they there to protect us or control us? If Spain passes this law it is one more piece of evidence for the latter.
Just a quick note on this story: Looking for a source online for this article (I read it originally in my local paper, who didn’t put it on their web page) took forever. First web search I did turned up countless links but the first four pages were all from conspiracy theory websites. I have no idea how reliable PressTV is as a source, this is the first time I’ve visited their site, but it is the first source I found that didn’t kill me with pop-up while proclaiming batshit theories.