NUJ calls for investigation of police “targeting” press during French riots
10 December 2018
The Paris branch of the National Union of Journalists has called for an investigation into the injuries sustained by a union member hit by a projectile fired by the police while he was covering the riots in the French capital.
During the disturbances taking place in Paris and other cities across France, the police used rubber bullets and tear gas against the “yellow vest” protesters, injuring more than 100, including members of the press. In a letter to the Minister of the Interior, the Paris branch called for the investigation into the case of Nigel Dickinson who was hit by a projectile fired by the police despite being easily recognised as a member of the press.
The letter said:
“We are deeply concerned that a significant number of journalists and media professionals appear to have been deliberately targeted during the events. Nigel Dickinson was easily identifiable as a press photographer. He was standing largely alone, separate from others, when hit. At that moment there was no activity was taking place in the vicinity.”
The branch demanded assurances from the Prefet de Police de Paris that all officers provided with launchers are instructed correctly in their use and that the safety of those working for the media will be guaranteed. Nigel Dickinson said:
“Throughout the day, many press and TV crew members were hit by police projectiles. I saw at least half dozen people hit, mainly in the stomach or abdomen. They were in great pain and treated by first aid volunteers.”
He said he had been wearing a white helmet, goggles and blue face-mask and was easily identifiable as a press photographer with two DSLR cameras hanging by his sides.