UPDATE – 19 November 2019: As of 27 October, the count raised to 72 journalists injured. Source: Media.cat.
(Media.cat – 16 October 2019) The Ramon Barnils Group of Journalists denounces the unacceptable actions perpetrated by the Spanish and Catalan police forces and demands the resignation of corresponding government officials
According to numbers by the Critical Media Observatory Mèdia.cat’s, 14 journalists were injured by police forces, 1 by extreme right-wing demonstrators and 5 more injured by unknown assailants (20 in total) on Friday, making a total of 58 journalists injured since Monday
Barcelona, 19 October 2019. The Ramon Barnils Group of Journalists (www.grupbarnils.cat), a nonprofit association created in 2001 and formed by some 200 journalists from Catalonia, condemns the unacceptable actions perpetrated by the Spanish National Police Force (CPN) and the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra (MdE) in the attacks and arrests of journalists. The situation became particularly severe during the evening, night and early morning hours of 18 to 19 October, after the demonstrations held during the general strike on Friday. However, this abusive police actions and concerning attacks on journalists have been taking place repeatedly since Monday 14 October, the day on which the Supreme Court’s ruling on Catalonia’s pro-independence leaders was made public.
Dozens of demonstrators have fallen victim to police practices which contravene the established protocols. Among them are injured and detained journalists (the majority of them visually identifiable as members of the press through vests and/or armbands). Some victims affirm that while being attacked, police officers ignored their attempts to identify themselves as members of the press and their identification badges; others explained that the agents attacked with the aim of preventing them from recording. The fully unprecedented number of attacks on journalists on Friday and the arrest of a photojournalist leads to think of a deliberate ploy against informants. These series of actions certify that what has been witnessed in the past few days is an unprecedented attack on the right to inform.
It is in response to this that the Ramon Barnils Group demands the resignation of the political authorities in charge of these police forces: Catalan Minister for Home Affairs Miquel Buch and Spanish Minister for Home Affairs Fernando Grande-Marlaska.
Mèdia.cat (www.media.cat), the Critical Media Observatory created by the Ramon Barnils Group, has counted a total of 20 journalists injured on Friday night and 38 more injured from Monday to Thursday. While awaiting more information on each case and any new data which may appear, the group makes this information available to reporters and the media, as well as to both local and international human rights’ organisations and institutions (see figures and links below), with the aim of making public these violations of the right to inform.
The Mèdia.cat Observatory, created in 2009, offers a critical analysis of mass media channels, conducts research and publishes issues which are silenced, censored or misreported, and documents and condemns violations and restrictions on the freedom of information and expression. The “Censorship Map” (www.media.cat/mapacensura), which since 2015 has brought to light cases of censorship, aggression against journalists and the media, and other restrictions on the right to inform, was one of the 400 nominees to the “2018 Freedom of Expression Awards” organised by the International Index on Censorship, for its work in fighting for freedom of expression.
Figures of Journalists Assaulted
(Provisional) Balance of the night of Friday 18 Oct:
20 journalists injured and 1 arrested in Barcelona, Girona and Valencia
Current figures (possible new cases pending):
• Journalists injured by police officers (CNP/MdE) with batons, rubber ball impacts, etc.: 14 (13 in Barcelona and 1 in Girona)
• Journalists assaulted by extreme right-wing demonstrators: 1 (Valencia)
• Journalists attacked by unknown assailants: 5 (Barcelona)
• Journalists arrested: 1 (Barcelona)
• Journalists affected by tear gas: number undetermined.
(Provisional) Balance of 14 to 18 October:
Monday, 14 October: 12 journalists injured
Tuesday, 15 October: 11 journalists injured
Wednesday, 16 October: 13 journalists injured
Thursday, 17 October: 2 journalists injured
Friday, 18 October: 20 journalists injured
Total figures (Monday-Friday): 58 journalists injured in Catalonia (except for one case in Valencia)
UPDATE – 22 October 2019: 65 journalists assaulted during the protests from Monday 14 to Sunday 20 October
More information on cases compiled can be found on the Mèdia.cat website: https://www.media.cat/2019/10/16/recompte-agressions-periodistes-protestes-sentencia/