‘Any silence justifies the lynching’: Media watchdog condemns ‘yellow vest’ attacks on journalists

'Any silence justifies the lynching': Media watchdog condemns 'yellow vest' attacks on journalists
Photo: Screengrab Paris Normandie
Reporters Without Borders on Sunday called on those who speak for France's "yellow vest" protesters to condemn numerous attacks and threats against journalists across the country during the latest round of anti-government demonstrations.

“A turning point has been reached,” Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of the Paris-based media rights watchdog, told the BFM television channel.

“We are facing a very serious situation which is threatening to get worse,” he said, after reporters were beaten, kicked and threatened with rape during Saturday's rallies.

“We call on the spokespersons of the 'Yellow Vests' to solemnly condemn increasing violence against journalists during demonstrations,” he tweeted.

READ ALSO: 'They tell nothing but lies': Yellow vests reveal why they hate the media

'They tell nothing but lies': France's 'yellow vests' reveal their hatred of the media

While he paid tribute to protesters who helped protect journalists, he lashed out at those committing “unacceptable anti-democratic blackmail” who say to journalists that “if you do not cover events exactly as we see them… then we are entitled to assault you”.

On Saturday protesters, some wearing yellow vests, surrounded and beat up a security officer accompanying LCI television reporters in the northern city of 
Rouen, breaking his nose.

In the southern city of Toulon, two AFP video journalists were threatened by protesters and forced to find refuge in a restaurant. 

In France's second-largest city Marseille, the crowd hurled insults at a video journalist from France 3 television as well as two local photographers, preventing them from working.

In the country's southeast, a journalist was kicked in the city of Pau, while a female reporter of the French newspaper La Depeche du Midi was threatened with rape in Toulouse.

Overnight Friday protesters had also blocked the printing centre of the L'Yonne Republicaine newspaper and prevented the newspaper la Voix du Nord from being distributed.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner lashed out at the attacks on Twitter.

“In our democracy, the press is free. In our Republic, the freedom to inform is unalienable. Assaulting journalists is an attack on both,” he wrote.

On Saturday The Local spoke to many protesters in the central city of Bourges who explained their hatred of the media, blaming TV channels for not focusing on police violence and only concentrating on trouble caused by the yellow vests.

More than 84,000 people turned out for the ninth Saturday of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron since November, the interior ministry said, up from 50,000 the previous Saturday.

However, there was a marked decline in violence, despite hundreds of arrests and clashes with police in Paris and other cities.

Member comments

  1. Media is considered the fourth pillar of Democracy.If the mediapersons are attacked and threatened where is the security?Are the police outnumbered by the socalled Yellow vests?Only thing they should report what they see and not under pressure.

  2. The whole point of the article is that the media should be free to go about it’s business without intimidation. What do you find so hard to understand about that?

  3. It would be interesting to find out how many of these knuckle draggers marched in support of Charlie Hebdo but there again, they wouldn’t understand irony would thay.

  4. I agree that the Media should be free to report what they see, but unfortunately they don’t. They are censured by the government. I have seen MANY videos and photos of where the Police have hit the yellow vests and instigated the problems. The Police in France are known to be aggressive and troublemakers. It’s a terrible affair!

  5. After attending a Gilets Jaunes protest on December 22 at Etoile I was shocked at the level of restraint shown by the CRS. In America, where I live, these protester would be shot and killed for showing such aggression toward the police. So I find it quite amusing to see GJs shouting “police brutality” while the CRS just stand there and take a pummeling from yellow vests. Hard to have sympathy for a movement that seems committed to throwing the country into chaos but not providing any real solutions. They want it all..low taxes and increased government services. Their demands are absurd!

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