SANTIAGO – The Foreign Correspondents Association released a statement condemning recent attacks on journalists. The association said that a free press was necessary in any democracy and that the state needed to guarantee and protect the right to record, describe, and spread information. The association also warned that this part of a worrisome global trend.
The Foreign Correspondents Association condemned recent attacks on journalists after a report from the University of Chile said that since Oct. 18 there have been 90 complaints of aggressions against journalists. The association warned that this was a worrisome global trend—journalists being attacked for doing their jobs—and that a free press was essential to the democratic process. The association also demanded that the government guarantee journalists’ rights to practice their profession.
The association pointed out two specific cases of one of their own being attacked. On Friday, Mar. 6, photographer Marcelo Hernández suffered an ocular wound after being hit by a tear gas canister that had been fired by a Carabinero (Chilean National police officer). One day later, cameraman Jaime Esquivel was attacked by a group of eight protesters when he refused to stop filming a Rechazo (“Reject”) march.
The association ended its statement saying, “Being a journalist means being present to see, hear, and report what’s going on in the world, many times in moments of tension and violence. As an association we are profoundly worried that protesters and law enforcement frequently assault those people, professionals and volunteers, who dedicate themselves to recording the acts.”
Attacks on Journalists
Attacks on journalists have become much more frequent in the marches, mainly in the ones that are in favor of the Rechazo campaigns. Back in February, protesters assaulted and robbed two journalists from The Clinic, accusing them of attempting to infiltrate the march, even though they showed their press credentials.
Just last weekend, some members of the Rechazo march attacked journalist Rafael Cavada for taking pictures, until some onlookers went to his aid and pulled him into a nearby building where he received first aid. He ended up having to get stitches on his head.
Cinco manifestantes del rechazo golpearan con bates al periodista Rafael Cavada (@rafa_cavada) . Además, lanzaron gas pimienta a otros transeúntes.
Todo esto Escoltados por radiopatrullas de Carabineros patentes RP5058 Y RP2984. pic.twitter.com/yyibwkITjw
— PIENSAPRENSA OFICIAL 203,4 mil seguidores (@PiensaPrensa) March 7, 2020
Diego Rivera is currently a senior in University, finishing up his audiovisual degree. You can find him on Twitter as @Piover45.