If you’ve ever seen a picture of someone in handcuffs in Japanese media, you’ll notice that the handcuffs are blurred (or pixelated). Similarly in France and South Korea a law prohibits the publication of videos and photographs of handcuffed suspects.
So, what’s the deal with that? Why adding a blurred blob when it’s obvious that the person walking is handcuffed?
Well, us being us, we decided to look for it and the reason is quite simple actually. Here’s how it goes. (the article continues after the ad)
According to the Japanese law, depicting a suspect in handcuffs implies guilt, and may prejudice the trial. In Japan, this law was passed after Kazuyoshi Miura successfully brought a case to the court arguing that the newspaper pictures with him in handcuffs implied guilt and altered his public appearance.
In France the law was passed under justice minister, Ms. Elisabeth Guigou who did so when pictures of Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn (I.M.F’s former Managing Director) in handcuffs were revealed by the American media. When she saw them, she reportedly told to France-Info radio: “I am happy that we do not have the same judicial system.”
In South Korea things weren’t always like this. But then, various organizations such as South Korea’s National Human Rights Commission, argued that pictures of a suspect in handcuffs violates the person’s right. Moreover, they claimed that viewers will conclude that the suspect is criminal when media reports have him or her in handcuffs. This led to Article 27 of the South Korean Constitution, according to which “handcuffs shouldn’t be exposed to prevent feelings of personal shame for the accused.”
And now you know!