News

April 20, 2018

France: Photographers hurt in police violence against journalists at Paris protest

AFP
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns renewed police violence against journalists during street protests in France and voices its support for Jan Schmidt-Whitley, a photographer with the Pictorium photo agency who was injured by a stun grenade while covering a protest against government reforms in Paris yesterday.

Schmidt-Whitley underwent an operation today for injuries to both hands caused by the explosion of the stun grenade that police fired at him during the protest in the 14th district of Paris although he was easily identifiable as a journalist from the many cameras he was carrying.


Another photographer, Karine Pierre, sustained a collarbone fracture when targeted by police during the same demonstration.


We condemn this violence against journalists covering demonstrations and voice our full support for the photographer Jan Schmidt-Whitley,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk.


Covering a demonstration or a public event in France is nowadays a risky activity for reporters and photographers. A press armband or media equipment no longer suffices to protect them from the police.”


In July 2017, RSF asked the French ombudsman to investigate ten cases of journalists who had been subjected to unwarranted violence by the police while covering protests, including the 2016 anti-labour reform protests and election-related demonstrations in 2017.


More police violence against journalist has been reported in the new wave of strikes and protests that began a few weeks ago.


France is ranked 39th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.