In Lyon, the virality of social networks on trial for images of a fatal accident

&In Lyon, the virality of social networks on trial for images fatal accident


LYON, France | “Did they put themselves in my place for a single second?”: At the bar of the Lyon court, a mother challenges two brothers who helped to broadcast on social networks a video of the accidental death of her daughter, which has gone viral . 

On January 16, 2019, in the center of Lyon, a bus hits and then crushes this young 15-year-old high school student. Footage from the city's CCTV records the drama. A week later, the scene can be found on whatsapp and other social networks.

The investigation will establish a double responsibility: that of a municipal agent of the direction of the general supervision (DSG) having filmed it afterwards before transmitting it to his wife and his brother who, him, will diffuse it to five other people , the starting point of its viral spread. The agent, dismissed after his misconduct, was sentenced on Tuesday to a 10-month suspended sentence, his brother to six months. /p>

“I sincerely apologize, from the bottom of my heart”, assures, turning to the mother of the victim, the former municipal agent.

“I am aware of what I did, I cried about it, I have children,” he says, “but the goal was not to find it on the internet.” No, the goal “was to tell my wife and my brother, the two people who are close to me and who came to town, to be careful”.

Just sworn in at the At the time, the agent knew that it was forbidden to “take out” videos from the service.

The municipal agent's brother relayed these images to five people on whatsapp, in particular fellow highway repairmen . But there “was a leak (…) which snowballed. And then there you go, so and so… We're not on social networks, we…”

For the mother, this “morbid viewing” is an inextinguishable pain. The court also ordered a forensic report to identify his damage, granting him 8,000 euros in provisional compensation. “I saw my only child being killed, practically in front of my eyes”, sums up this single domestic worker.

“You have torn his mourning away from him!”, Says to the two defendants his lawyer, Mr. John Sanier. And to hammer: “this video should have stayed where it was!”.

Then, challenging the court: “you have to judge the violence of this society where this unthinkable image is transmitted instantly and without filter to 200,000 people”. For him, “the virality of this video brings us back to the barbarism of our civilization”.

The prosecutor, Marie-Charlotte Fiorio, also denounces “a fascination for the violent image which questions”, insisting on “the discrepancy between the lightness of a behavior and its extremely heavy consequences”. She requested 5 and 4 months suspended.

There is no “fascination”, replies the lawyer for the two brothers, Me Marie-France Vullermet for whom the case would rather fall under “ ordinary stupidity”, even if we must not neglect “the trauma” experienced by “the one who is behind the screen”.

As for the images, they were initially transmitted “only to people you trust”, right up to “treason”. And its consequences: “the multiplication by social networks, which has completely escaped them”.