10 Dec 2019 Lvl. 1
Alert created on: 11 Dec 2018 n° 138/2018 France
Repeated Police Violence Against Journalists Covering Protests
On Saturday 8 December, many journalists covering the "Yellow Vest" protests in France were victims of police violence. About fifteen photographers and reporters were wounded by targeted flashball shots, grenades and stray bullets, even though they were clearly identifiable by their press armbands or holding a camera or a video camera. Two photographers from the daily newspaper "Le Parisien-Aujourd'hui en France" were "hit by flashguns on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, one on the nape of the neck and one on the knee", reports the newspaper. A journalist from the A2PRL audio news agency also reported that a police officer shot at her, while journalists from Explicite were targeted by flashguns. "The Sunday Journal" reported that one of his photographers was "hit twice by riot police in a scuffle between police and yellow vests" on the Champs-Elysees. According to AFP, one of their photographers in Le Puy-en-Velay was "lightly hit on the arm by a shot from a tear gas canister as he advanced completely on his own towards a police cordon". Several photographers working for the daily newspaper "Libération" have told similar stories and a Reuters news agency reporter was targeted in Bordeaux. From 8 am onwards the police removed and confiscated journalists’ protective equipment (helmets, goggles and gas masks) even though they had their press cards. These confiscations were sometimes carried out under the threat of being placed in police custody. French journalists' unions have called on journalists to report incidents to the police disciplinary body, the Inspection générale de la Police nationale (IGPN). On Monday, they asked to be received urgently by the President of the Republic.
10 Dec 2019
On 5 December 2019, on the first day of strike against the pension reform, 25 journalists were subjected to police violence in several cities. In Bordeaux, freelance photographer Astrid Lag sustained a calf injury, and freelance photographer Lois Mugen was beaten. In Nantes, a "France Bleu" journalist was shot with rubber balls, and a colleague from the daily newspaper "Ouest France" was hit by a tear gas canister. In Paris, Mustafa Calcin, reporter for the Turkish agency "Anadolu", lost 90% of his vision after being injured in the face. Radio/web journalist Taha Bouhafs and his colleague of "Le Media" Serge Faubert were wounded by grenades. Journalist Gaspard Glanz was injured in the legs and his equipment was partially destroyed. Clearly identifiable by their work tools, the following video reporters were subjected to police violence: Tiphaine Blot, Yann L., Julien Lormier, Gaspard Charpentier, Corentin Fohlen, Martin Nodin, Patrice Nice, Emilie Royer, Tomas Statius, Valentine Zeler, Romain Boyer, Medi Donk, Sylvain Forêt, Nicolas de Poulpiquet and the photographer Bsaz.
29 Nov 2019
On 20 November 2019, a riot police (CRS) officer, filmed throwing a cobble towards protesters during a protest on 1 May 2019, went on trial in the Paris Criminal Court. The prosecution requested a three-month suspended prison sentence on charges of "willful violence by a person holding public authority who did not lead to incapacity", punishable up to 3 years in prison and a €45,000 fine.
22 Nov 2019
On 16 November 2019, during demonstrations commemorating the anniversary of the "Yellow Vests" protests, in Paris, the full face mask worn by photographer Julien Moreau was smashed by a grenade fragment or a rubber bullet, and RT France journalist Lucas Léger was hit in the head by a paving stone. On 19 November 2019, in Besançon, a Radio Bip/Média 25 reporter was summoned by the police and threatened with prosecution under the law aimed at strengthening and guaranteeing the maintenance of public order during demonstrations (known as "anti-hooligans" law), on the grounds that he wore a gas mask.
- Statement by the National Union of Journalists (SNJ): "Police violence and press freedom violations: the Minister of the Interior must be held accountable".
- Statement by the National Union of Journalists - Ile de France district: "Les journalistes doivent pouvoir exercer leur métier en toute sérénité"
12 Nov 2019
On 7 November 2019, the Paris prosecutor announced that two police officers were referred to criminal court for alleged violence during "yellow vests" protests. A total of 212 investigations had been entrusted to the IGPN, of which 146 were closed, 54 were closed without prosecution and 18 were under judicial investigation. According to the Ministry of Justice, 372 complaints against the police were registered throughout France, of which 109 were closed without prosecution and 29 were under judicial investigation.
20 Jun 2019
On 18 June 2019, RSF sent a note to Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior, containing 10 recommendations.
06 May 2019
On 3 May 2019, Christophe Deloire, Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said after a meeting with the President of the Republic that he had pledged that "action will be taken in the face of police violence against the press at Yellow Vests protests". The Presidential Office confirmed, without giving further details, that Emmanuel Macron had assured during this interview "that he was following this very closely and that he would follow the file also in the near future". Journalist David Dufresne was awarded the Grand Prix des Assises des Journalisme at Tours for documenting 102 cases of assaults on journalists out of 795 allegations of "police violence" since the beginning of the "Yellow Vests" movement.
03 May 2019
On 2 May 2019, in response to the persistence of incidents linked to the management of "Yellow Vests" demonstrations by the police, which continue to cause injuries among journalists covering the events, the SNJ, the SNJ-CGT and the CFDT-Journalists unions requested to be received by the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic to inform them about the profession's disapprobation, to call for clarification of these incidents and to obtain the implementation of measures necessary to contain them.
02 May 2019
On 1 May 2019, more than 350 media, journalists, photographers, freelancers signed an open letter denouncing the police violence suffered by the profession since the start of the "yellow vests" movement.
19 Apr 2019
On 18 April 2019, at the presentation of Reporters Wihout Borders’ 2019 World Press Freedom Index, journalist David Dufresne presented his work on police violence against journalists during the yellow vest demonstrations. He recorded 62 cases of police violence against journalists.
- Letter from the UN Working Group on arbitrary detention/UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression/UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association/UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (in French)
- Article by France Inter (in French): "Six mois après le début de la crise des "gilets jaunes", quel est le bilan d'Allo @Place_Beauvau ?"
- Mapping Media Freedom report: "France: Journalists assaulted by police during Gilets Jaunes protests"
- Statement by SNJ – SNJ-CGT – CFDT-Journalistes – SGJ-FO inter-union group (in French): "Violences policières contre les journalistes : la liberté d’informer menacée"
- Tweet by press photographer Véronique de Viguerie (in French)
- Article by "Libération" (in French): "Manifs du 8 décembre : de nombreux journalistes visés et blessés par la police"
- Tweet by A2PRL journalist Boris Kharlamoff (in French)
- Article by "Journal du Dimanche" (in French): "Gilets jaunes : un photographe du JDD blessé sur les Champs-Elysées"
- Tweets by "Explicite" journalist Paul Conge (in French)
- Article by "Le Parisien" (in French): "Acte 4 des Gilets jaunes : deux photographes du Parisien blessés par des tirs de flash-ball"
- Vidéo produced by the collective 'Reporters en colère'
- CPJ report: "Police, 'yellow vest' protesters both target journalists in France, Belgium"
23 Jan 2019
Reply from the French authorities
26 Feb 2019
The Commissioner for Human Rights sends a Memorandum to the French Government
Key information :Astrid Lag, Lois Mugen