The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, expressed his concern today regarding the wave of violence against journalists covering protests across the United States of America in recent days.
“I am deeply concerned by the number of incidents and attacks by police and demonstrators against journalists covering protests in the United States over the past few days,” said Representative Désir. “Many of these incidents involved arrests and the use of force by police, including rubber bullets, pepper bullets, tear gas and pepper spray, as well as acts of violence by protesters. I call on the authorities to exercise restraint and to ensure that journalists can work safely while reporting on public protests. A free press must be safeguarded at all times, and journalists must be free to report without facing violence, arrest, or intimidation.”
Protests erupted in Minneapolis on 25 May, following the killing of a black man, George Floyd, and have since spread across the country. A video taken on Monday evening shows a Minneapolis police officer keeping his knee on the neck of a motionless, moaning man at the foot of a squad car.
Floyd, in the video, says several times that he can’t breathe, then goes quiet. He died in intensive care. Four police officers were fired after the riots began, and one of them was charged with negligent homicide.