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Bulgaria must investigate police violence against journalists

Statement
Strasbourg 03/09/2020
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Bulgaria must investigate police violence against journalists

“I am concerned at numerous reports of police violence against journalists covering demonstrations in Sofia”, said today the Commissioner. “Several journalists were reportedly beaten up and pepper sprayed when riot police clashed with demonstrators yesterday in Sofia. One journalist was reportedly detained for hours and others had their professional equipment damaged.

Violence against journalists, especially at the hands of state agents, is contrary to states’ duty to uphold press freedom and to protect the safety of journalists.

I therefore call on the Bulgarian authorities to effectively investigate all reported cases of attacks against journalists and punish the police officers responsible for such unacceptable behaviour. It is also urgent to give clear instructions to police officers to respect press freedom and allow journalists and media professionals to cover demonstrations safely.”