A UK-based newspaper has denounced the arrest of journalists in the US while covering the recent anti-racism protests.
According to a report by the Independent newspaper on Saturday, a mounting crackdown on reporters by authorities has been seen in recent weeks as President Donald Trump’s administration has deployed federal agents to several cities where demonstrators are calling for racial justice, reports Xinhua news agency.
It cited the UN human rights office as saying that journalists covering protests in the US should be permitted to do their jobs without fear of attack or arrest.
“(The protests) must be able to continue without those participating in them and also the people reporting on them, the journalists, risking arbitrary arrest or detention, being subject to unnecessary disproportionate or discriminatory use of force or suffering other violations of their rights,” the newspaper quoted UN human rights spokesperson Liz Throssell as saying.
According to the newspaper, its chief US correspondent Andrew Buncombe was arrested on July 1 in Seattle while reporting on demonstrations.
He was charged with failure to disperse despite repeatedly identifying himself as a journalist and was held for at least eight hours before being released.
In response, the Independent launched a campaign named ‘Journalism Is Not a Crime’.
“What we see today is how often the human rights of many, reporters included, seem to be casually disregarded by American police forces that are granted extraordinary immunities from prosecution. A certain institutional ethos has developed that the police are above the law, and have so little to fear from press scrutiny that they can lock journalists up with impunity,” itt said in an editorial while announcing the initiative.
So far more than 70 journalists in the US have been arrested during Black Lives Matter demonstrations, while dozens of others have been injured by rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas, according to the Independent.