Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns German freelance cameraman Christian Gesellmann’s violent arrest by police officers while covering an anti-government demonstration in Bucharest on Wednesday 1 February.
The police hit Gesellmann and held him for several hours for refusing to delete or surrender the video he had shot of clashes between police officers and hooligans during the protest.
Gesellmann was not clearly identified as a journalist and did not have a Romanian press card. But it would not have taken the police long to confirm that he was indeed a journalist, instead of detaining him and confiscating his video recording.
Journalists in Romania often report being the targets of intimidation. Many cases of political and economic harassment have been registered in the past two years.
“We ask the Romanian authorities to respect the law and to no longer demand that journalists surrender or delete video recordings or photos,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk. “It is the job of journalists to cover events. Any interference of this kind in their work constitutes a violation of media freedom.”