On Sunday, August 20, Global News national reporter Mike Armstrong and cameraman Jean-Vincent Verveille were allegedly assaulted while reporting on a demonstration against far-right group La Meute in Quebec City, Canada. Verveille was shoved and his camera was seized and smashed on the ground by a protester dressed in black who kept their face covered. Armstrong was shoved down some stairs while covering the demonstration and tweeted that those that assaulted him and his colleague were part of “a violent faction of anti-racists.” There hasn’t yet been an indication why the assault occurred. Neither Armstrong nor Verveille have claimed they were injured.
“Acts of violence against journalists and media personnel while covering protests undermine the press’ ability to accurately report news that is in the public’s interest,” says Margaux Ewen, Advocacy and Communications Director for RSF’s North America Bureau. “Those responsible for this deplorable incident should be immediately identified and charged accordingly.”
Armstrong and Verveille’s assault is reminiscent of recent events in Canada’s southern neighbor, the United States, where at least four journalists were assaulted while covering protests and counter-protests in Virginia and North Carolina during the weekend of August 11.
Canada ranks 22nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index after falling 4 places in the past year.