Treatment of reporters in migrant crisis criticised

2015-10-20 17:07
Migrants run along a street to the Austrian - Slovenian border after they broke through a cordon in a makeshift camp in Sentilj, Slovenia. (Christian Bruna, AP)

Migrants run along a street to the Austrian - Slovenian border after they broke through a cordon in a makeshift camp in Sentilj, Slovenia. (Christian Bruna, AP)

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Belgrade - Media watchdog Reporters without Borders on Tuesday condemned the "unacceptable pattern" of police mistreating journalists who are covering the ongoing refugee crisis at European border crossings.

The criticism came a day after Croatian police at the Serbian border pushed AFP photographer Andrej Isakovic to the ground without explanation and threw his two cameras into a field where he could not retrieve them for several hours.

At the same Berkasovo crossing point, Isakovic saw them seize and throw the camera of a British freelance journalist, while Reuters news agency reported that Croatian police hit one of its cameramen and threatened to smash his kit.

"Incidents against reporters involving police officers on the borders are becoming an unacceptable pattern we can only denounce," said Alexandra Geneste, head of the EU-Balkans office at Reporters Without Borders, which is known by its French abbreviation RSF.

Foreign media

"Violence against journalists who are covering the refugee crisis is simply appalling," Geneste said in an email.

The Paris-based RSF last month censured Hungarian police for obstructing foreign media coverage of the migrants' situation at the Hungary-Serbia border, particularly for using force against journalists on three occasions.

A statement from Croatia's interior ministry on Monday said two foreign news agency reporters had "joined the migration wave... and entered Croatia at an illegal border crossing" in violation of its laws.

But Isakovic said his press credentials had been checked by police when he arrived at Berkasovo and he was on Serbian soil close to migrants' tents when Croatian officers approached him, shouting and swearing.

Read more on:    serbia  |  hungary  |  croatia  |  austria  |  slovenia  |  migrants

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