Translation with SYSTRAN Links

Deontology of information and the television programs

Which warranties does one have to obtain to protect the use of his image on television?

Any person, that it is famous or unknown, has a right to the image. This principle is devoted as well out of civil topic as penal.

Article 9 of the Civil code indicates that “each one is entitled to the respect of its private life. The judges can, without prejudice to the compensation for the undergone damage, to prescribe all measurements, such as sequestrations, seizures and others, suitable to prevent or put an end to an attack with the intimacy of the private life; these measurements can, if there is urgency, being ordered in summary procedure“.

Jurisprudence specified that the right to the image implies that any person is entitled to the respect of her private life and has on her image an exclusive right which enables him to be opposed to its reproduction without its authorization.

Articles 226-1 and following of the New Penal code distinguish three types of infringement likely to be based criminal proceedings for attack by the image with the private life or the representation of the person, among whom fixing, the recording or transmission of the image of a person in the absence of her preliminary assent.

In the case of a diffusion on a TV channel, it is appropriate to specify that the right to the image, which makes it possible to any person to be opposed to the disclosure of its image, supposes that there was not prior approval of the implied person, i.e. that the recording was done without its assent, without its knowledge. On the other hand, if the implied person gave her assent, it cannot be opposed any more to the disclosure of its image nor even to the conservation of this one by the chain, unless bringing the proof of a damage.

One sees sometimes people smoking on plates of television or during emissions of reality TV. Is this legal?

Whereas publicity in favour of the tobacco is prohibited (Article L. 3511-3 of the Public health code), jurisprudence considers that the only fact of diffusing images of people smoking in front of the cameras is not constitutive of acts of publicity or propaganda prohibited by the texts. According to the judge, such acts suppose, on behalf of that which is devoted to it, concrete, voluntary and deliberated action a “intended to promote the use of the tobacco” (TGI Paris, February 25th, 1998, national CNTC c/Ste of television France 2).
However, in 1999, the Council drew the attention of the chains to the necessary respect of the decree n° 92-478 of May 29th, 1992, which considers that “prohibition to smoke in the places assigned to a collective use applies in all the closed places and covers accommodating of the public or who constitute the workplaces”, the plates of television concerned with this definition.

Which are the ethical rules which apply to the chains?

To take care of the deontology of the audiovisual programmes is one of the missions of the Council. This concept comprises various shutters: the respect for human dignity, the fight against discriminations, the maintenance of the public order, the honesty and the independence of information, treatment of the legal affairs and, finally, the respect of the right to the private life. 

The basic principles of the deontology in the audio-visual mediums appear in article 1 of the law of September 30th, 1986. The Council is also pressed on other texts like article 9 of the civil code, which protects the private life from the people, or the law of July 29th, 1881 on the freedom of the press, which condemns the insult and defamation.

These legal requirements are translated in conventions of the private channels and the specifications of the missions and of the public editors. Several their clauses force the chains to avoid kindness in the evocation of the human suffering, to respect the various political sensibilities, cultural and nuns of the public, to promote the values of integration and solidarity, to check their information and of to give the source, to show rigour in the presentation and the information processing and to ensure the rights of the person.

Moreover, the Council adopted several recommendations and deliberations in these fields. Let us quote the deliberation of December 7th, 2004 relating to the international conflicts and their possible repercussions in France, or the deliberation of July 17th, 2008 relating to the exposure of the products of the tobacco, alcoholic beverages and illicit drugs with the antenna.

The appearance in 2001 of the programs of reality TV also led the Council to put forth a recommendation, on May 14th, 2001, framing these emissions. This text provides in particular that in front of excessive manner the spirit of exclusion is not put and that are not uttered defamatory remarks or abusive against the participants. The chains are also held, on the one hand, to permanently put at the disposal of participants a preserved place of any recording and, on the other hand, to envisage daily phases of respite which causes no recording. Lastly, the participants must be informed technical device of recording, in particular of the site of the cameras and microphones and their number, existence of infra-red cameras or two-way mirrors.

The Council always intervenes after the diffusion. The chain is responsible for what it diffuses and it must be guarantor of the remarks made on her antenna. In the event of failure, the Council takes into account the terms of dissemination of the program: the presenter must intervene quickly by stopping the speaker or by condemning its words so contrary remarks to the deontology are made live. When the emission is remote, such remarks should not be diffused.

Lastly, the Council takes into account the kind of the emission. The gravity of the failure is thus different according to whether it is a question from a program humorous, informative, of a fiction or an emission of free antenna.