George Floyd: UN High Commissioner calls on the US to ensure safety of journalists

Several journalists from different countries have been attacked by US police while covering the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called on US authorities to ensure that “reporters can do their work free from attacks or repression” during the Floyd protests.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has commented on the matter, saying that journalists, including those covering the ongoing nationwide protests in the United States, should never be detained by police unless they violate the law.

“Unless there is an absolutely abhorrent situation, where a journalist commits an illegal act, there should be no condition under which any journalist is ever detained by the police in this city or any city in the United States of America. It is in our Constitution – the freedom of the press – it must be honoured, it should never be anything that compromises that”, de Blasio said.

He also stated that law enforcement must investigate any incident in which a reporter faces inappropriate treatment at the hands of the police.

The American Civil Liberties Union has said in a statement that it has filed a lawsuit “on behalf of journalists who were targeted and attacked by Minneapolis and Minnesota police”.

The statement comes after OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir urged US authorities to ensure the safety of journalists covering the protests. Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the United Nations secretary-general, said that all such incidents should be investigated.

Mass protests have been ongoing in Washington, DC and numerous other cities in the United States since the death of African-American man George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 25 May. The protests soon turned into riots, complete with arson, looting, and clashes with police.