Darmanin in Paris Match: his children very exposed, is it legal?

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin posed in Paris Match with his wife and two sons.

Darmanin in Paris Match: his children very exposed, is it legal?

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin posed in Paris Match with his wife and two sons. Clichés which raise questions about respect for the image rights of minors.

This week, Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin is on the cover of Paris Match, alongside his wife, Rose-Marie Devillers and his two sons, Max-Emilien and Alec, born in 2021 and 2022. Casual, without tie , France's first cop confides that "his family allows him to put political difficulties into perspective", photographed with one of his sons on his knees. He spoke in particular about the immigration law, his political ambitions for 2027 and of course, his family life. An operation far from trivial, while the latter does not benefit from a growing popularity rating, far from it.

The latest Ifop survey released on Tuesday February 20, 2024 gives only 39% favorable opinion to the tenant of Place Beauvau. Far behind Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, credited with 53% favorable opinion despite the farmers' crisis which has agitated the government for several weeks now. However, this communication operation by Gérald Darmanin in the company of his family is reminiscent of that of his predecessor.

Indeed, Nicolas Sarkozy appeared with his partner at the time, Cécilia, and his youngest son, Louis, in 2002. The former head of state already took up the codes of a famous photo of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his son, JFK Jr, in the Oval Office in 1963. If Gérald Darmanin wishes to present the image of an impassive minister and a united family despite the turbulence desired by the latest political sequences and in particular the stormy adoption of the immigration law, the photos published in the famous weekly may raise questions regarding respect for children's image rights.

Law No. 2024-120 of February 19, 2024 aimed at guaranteeing respect for children's image rights is based on article 372-1. “Parents jointly protect the image rights of their minor children, while respecting the right to privacy.” In addition, "Parents involve the child in the exercise of their image rights according to their age and degree of maturity." The children of the Minister of the Interior are currently 2 and 3 years old, so it is difficult to judge their ability to understand their degree of maturity in the face of the diffusion of these photos in the privacy of the family.

Will Gérald Darmanin's children, and in particular the one whose face is visible in the photo published in Paris Match, be very exposed in the coming years of his life, or even in the coming weeks? Obviously, yes. The position of Minister of the Interior held by Gérald Darmanin and the responsibilities inherent to such a position make him a leading political figure in France. In addition, its declining popularity also raises questions about the reach of these photos, while the virality of information has never been so strong with the continued growth of social networks.

In 2023, the deputy behind the bill aimed at guaranteeing respect for children's image rights, Bruno Studer, clearly indicated in the explanatory memorandum that it was up to parents to "protect the child in the exercise of their right to their image. It is to recall this evidence that this proposed law intends to participate, around a simple principle: to the temptation of virality, we must favor the imperative privacy. In an increasingly digitalized society, respect for the privacy of children is now essential for their security, well-being and development. A statement which greatly echoes the choice of Gérald Darmanin and his wife to broadcast such images.

While the face of one of his sons has now been revealed, it is impossible to put aside possible pressure from personalities on the State and on the police services. If the photos published in Paris Match in no way undermine the dignity or moral integrity of the child, as is strictly prohibited in article 377 of the civil code, and which would result in the "seizure of a judge for the purposes of having the exercise of the child's image rights delegated to him", this decision to expose young children also remains dependent on the perfect understanding of the parents on the subject.

Indeed, article 372-2-6 of the civil code includes the following paragraph: "He may also, in the event of disagreement between the parents on the exercise of the child's image rights, prohibit the "one of the parents to distribute any content relating to the child without the authorization of the other parent". In other words, if Rose-Marie Devillers were to object to the publication of the photos, she could consider legal action against Gérald Darmanin. So, if the exposure of his children remains legal as it stands, the Minister of the Interior seems to flirt with the red line regarding the exercise of their rights.