The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the regional group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today backed the Federation of Journalists Associations of Spain (FAPE) after protests over attacks on journalists covering public demonstrations and gatherings.
In a meeting with the Spanish Interior Ministry, FAPE elaborated on proposals for more clear identification of media staff covering events to avoid problems with security forces or demonstrators.
In the meeting, FAPE President Magis Iglesias and Javier Arenas, the Secretary General, expressed to Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba their concerns after recent confrontations between police and journalists.
On 18 March, some journalists were beaten by the Catalan police during a students' demonstration in Barcelona and on the same day in Andalucia a journalist was attacked by people who disagreed with his reporting on acorruption case.
In the election campaign in the Basque region, which ended last month, several journalists, photographers and cameramen were attacked by pro-independence Basque militants who destroyed their equipment. In these last two cases, the journalists say they were not protected by the police that witnessed the attacks.
"We can understand some difficulties the security forces face," said Magis Iglesias from FAPE, "but the authorities have the duty to protect them in any of these cases."
The EFJ is supporting the FAPE efforts to try to get different central and regional police authorities to recognize the journalists who are covering public events. They are hoping to develop armbands and other types of identification which will indicate journalists 'at work' and which should keep them free from police interference and ensure they get protection when needed."
This co-operation is useful," said Arne König, EFJ President. "The important outcome must be that journalists are free to work without the threat of violence or intimidation."
The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in over 30 countries worldwide.
For further information, contact the IFJ, International Press Centre, Residence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 / 2207, fax: +322 235 2219, e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: http://www.ifj.org/