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Halle Berry urges change in paparazzi laws to protect children

June 25, 2013|By Chris Megerian
  • Halle Berry
Halle Berry (Virginia Sherwood/Bravo )

Actress Halle Berry is expected to testify Tuesday in the Capitol in favor of legislation that would limit a paparazzo's ability to photograph the children of celebrities.

Senate Bill 606 would modify the definition of harassment -- meaning activity that "seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes" a person -- to include photographing or recording a child without the permission of a legal guardian.

The legislation specifically mentions photography that involves "following the child's activities or lying in wait" and targeting a child because of a parent's line of work. 

The Motion Picture Assn. of America opposes the legislation, saying it infringes upon free speech protections. Jim Ewert, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Assn., said there are already enough laws preventing harassment and he fears the measure could criminalize legitimate news gathering.

“It’s what journalists do," he said. "They take pictures.”

A first conviction could land offenders in jail for between 10 days and a year. 

Berry, who won an Academy Award for her role in "Monster's Ball" and has been a mainstay of the X-Men series, has clashed with the paparazzi before.

In April, she shouted and cursed at photographers who swarmed her, her fiancee and her young daughter at Los Angeles International Airport.

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chris.megerian@latimes.com

Twitter: @chrismegerian


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