15 Nov 2017 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 27 Oct 2015 n° 85/2015 Belgium

Journalists Arrested and Forced to Delete Material During Anti-TTIP Event

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 15 October 2015, during a protest in Brussels against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), at least three freelance journalists were arrested by the Belgian police, who subsequently destroyed press material. Thomas Michel and Maxime Lehoux, two journalists covering the event for the Internet television channel Zin TV, as well as a professional Italian freelance journalist with an official press card, were forced to delete their material featuring police violence against protesters. The police invoked alert level 3 (terrorism) to justify the deletion of all material. The journalists say, however, that they clearly identified themselves as journalists to the police and stated that they were only filming public images and not concentrating on the security measures. The Belgian League of Human Rights specifies that the Italian journalist was deprived of freedom for six hours for filming, in a public space, the police intervention during this anti-TTIP protest.
Updates
25 Feb 2019
On 22 February 2019, the Brussels Council Chamber referred the case to the Criminal Court for trial of the federal police officers, on charges of unlawful taking and erasure of video data.
03 Dec 2018
On 29 November 2018, Patrick Lefebvre said he would file a complaint with the Standing Committee on Police Service Control (Comité P).
15 Nov 2017
On 14 November 2017, following the complaint lodged by Thomas Michel and Maxime Lehoux (ZIN TV) against two Dutch-speaking federal police officers, the Chamber of the French-speaking Council at the Brussels Court of First Instance referred the case to the Chamber of the Dutch-speaking Council.
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