Letter from our lawyer to the Association of Professional Journalists
« Dear AJP members, Mrs. SIMONIS,
I am consulted by several journalists who are surprised by the blatant silence of the AJP concerning certain facts that occurred during the European demonstration of this Sunday, January 23 (while various videos have been running on a loop since this Sunday afternoon, that is to say for more than two days). They demand, in any case, the opening of a file of complaints, just as it was initiated and advocated by the members of the AJP the day after the demonstrations of June 7, 2020(1).
The collective complaint that was filed for the occasion has obviously not produced the expected effects, namely, I quote: « that the police let the journalists work in the field » and it would seem necessary to re-intervene the competent authorities in your capacity.
Indeed, the journalists and media concerned are surprised by a total lack of reaction as far as they are concerned, while the AJP still denounced on December 20 that « the media are not the only ones to be concerned. No journalist should fear for his or her safety because they are doing their job « .
Even more, nearly a month ago, the AJP even filed a civil suit (!), while pleading that » The violence, the insults and, above all, the use of a blinding spray by the aggressors to prevent journalists from doing their job, must be condemned without reserve « This was in the context of his intervention in favor of journalist Eric Boever(2), which arouses even more misunderstanding in the heads of the main stakeholders.
To convince you of the legitimacy of their claims, the media Vécu, as well as the media Kairos, invite you, from now on, to watch two particularly shocking sequences, which I hope, will make you react(3).
It is appalling that such recurrent practices (arbitrary arrest and disproportionate use of tear gas!) can still lead to total impunity, without the AJP being moved by it, especially since, as you will see in the last sequence, Mr. Penasse does not fail to use his professional card to try to protect himself from such an aggression.
If need be, we confirm that the presence of these journalists is also indispensable, in that it allows us to preserve and collect certain proofs of other obvious police abuses, which are committed frantically, and in an increasingly systematic way, on simple citizens(4).
Another reason for their personal presence in the field (and many risks taken…), in their undeniable capacity as journalists.
In view of the above, I hope that you will agree that this situation is not acceptable in its current state and that it must be dealt with firmly and without discrimination.
Especially since only 2 weeks ago, on January 9, 2022, another unexpected scene occurred when some police officers visibly « screened » several journalists, all still holding valid press cards (which resulted in another injury to one of them…)(5).
In such conditions, many citizens seem to be worried about some form of inertia on your part, which I hope will not be more latent.
This is also why I thank you in advance for the prompt and optimal follow-up that will be given to this letter.
Dedicated feelings, »
- https://www.facebook.com/vecumediaofficiel/videos/380570360499137 et https://www.facebook.com/kairospresse/videos/1108020353352277