Last updated on 28th July 2019
The correspondent of “RIA Novosti” Viktoriya Ivanova filed a complaint with the General Inspectorate of the National Police of France (IGPN) against law enforcement officers. The journalist was appointed for examination at the forensic bureau.
On Wednesday, Viktoriya Ivanova, who was covering the unrest during the May Day demonstration, was struck with a truncheon by the police. The journalist was in the center of the unrest, filming what was happening on her camera phone. The police, who were dispersing the hooligans, began to beat everyone. Despite the fact that the “RIA Novosti” correspondent’s hand had an armband with the word “Press” and a sticker with similar text on her helmet, the police still began to beat her, striking her head and arm.
Полиция на парижских протестах ожесточилась, избивает всех подряд: досталось и корреспонденту РИА Новости, снимавшей видео. Надписи «Пресса» на каске и руке не спасли – досталось по голове и плечу. От серьёзных травм спасла защита, но все равно больно. #1erMai2019 pic.twitter.com/VYVuC7JCiL— Мировые РИА Новости (@RIA_Worldnews) May 1, 2019
Doctors at the Paris hospital diagnosed Ivanova with a concussion, as well as left shoulder and forearm bruises. The journalist was prescribed treatment and allowed to go home.
The Foreign Ministry called on the French authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and called the use of violence against journalists unacceptable.
“We consider the use of violence against journalists during the exercise of their professional duties to be unacceptable. We urge the French authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into this incident, and specialised human rights organisations and NGOs to keep this issue under control,” said the ministry. The ministry also added that they will continue to closely monitor the development of the situation.
The Permanent Mission of Russia to the OSCE asked the representative of this media freedom organisation, Harlem Désir, to respond to the incident. MIA “Russia Today” expressed its outrage at the actions of the police.
Timur Shafir, Secretary and Head of the International Department of the Union of Journalists of Russia, said that the beating of the “RIA Novosti” correspondent is a violation of her rights, noting that recently, despite the statements about freedom of speech, there is a tendency for journalists to be subjected to any violence.
“What happened today in Paris is undoubtedly a violation of the rights of our journalist. This is a violation of rights in principle and to cover any peaceful protests. I emphasise that the May Day demonstrations basically have a peaceful subtext in themselves. This is historically the case. What happened in Paris today is not only an attack on our journalist, our colleague, it is evidence of the trend that, unfortunately, has been taking place in recent years, that the media, covering events that do not fit into the agenda of the day of Western European powers and governments, may be subject to any violence,” said Shafir in comment to RIA Novosti.
According to Shafir, journalists now, despite their status as press workers, are under threat of violence.
“A journalist can be attacked, a journalist can be poisoned with tear gas, a journalist can be hit with truncheons on the arm, on the head – a journalist can be beaten in the literal sense of the word. Regardless of what views are defended by the journalist,” added Shafir.
Shafir also noted that this situation shows how much the current world’s statements about freedom of speech and the rights of journalists differ from actual practice when a journalist covering May Day events is beaten with a truncheon.
“We fully see this dichotomy, this dialectic, when they declare one thing in words – the human rights and rights of the journalist, but on the other hand, in practice, the journalist is beaten with a truncheon for covering May Day events. This is the reality. the doublethink of modern politics of the West,” concluded the secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia.
The Director of the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, Aleksandr Brod, described the police beating the RIA Novosti correspondent as a flagrant case.
“A scandalous fact. I in return will appeal to the international human rights organisations, including those that are engaged in the protection of freedom of journalists, to express their position in relation to this egregious example. I think that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have something to say,” said Brod to RIA Novosti.
He also promised to appeal to colleagues from the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation so that they state their position on the matter too.
“In such cases it is impossible to be silent. The journalist fulfils their duty and covers protest actions. It is, unfortunately, not the first case when physical pressure has been put on Russian journalist and their professional activity is hindered. The Russian journalists faced such incidents repeatedly in Ukraine and in the Baltic States, in the US, and Great Britain. And it is impossible to accept it,” stressed Brod.
According to him, the leadership of France must react to this incident and make sure that the guilty persons are held accountable.