23 Jan 2019 Lvl. 1
Alert created on: 11 Dec 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.
- 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"
- CPJ: "Police, 'yellow vest' protesters both target journalists in France, Belgium"
23 Jan 2019
Reply from the French authorities