US officials must stop the war against reporters and media freedom led by US President Donald Trump, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Anthony Bellanger told TASS on Thursday.
"In the past few days journalists have been shot at, pepper-sprayed, beaten, arrested and threatened. It is clearly a systematic attempt to cover up the brutality and injustice of the authorities in responding to the protests," he said.
"Led by a President who vilifies and threatens the media on a regular basis the US authorities war on journalists and media freedom must stop," he stressed.
"Those who attack and threaten journalists must be held to account. Deliberate targeting of journalists must be punished," the IFJ chief stated.
Earlier, the Russian embassy in the US excoriated the American police’s treatment of reporters during the protests, slamming the techniques used as unacceptable, which include shooting rubber bullets and throwing tear gas canisters at journalists, covering the nationwide demonstrations. Editor-in-Chief of Sputnik's Washington D.C. bureau Mindia Gavasheli said earlier that producer of the news agency Nicole Russell was injured when covering the mass protests near the White House. Moreover, Russian reporter Mikhail Turgiyev was tear gassed by police officers in Minneapolis. The Russian embassy issued a note of protest.
Widespread unrest has engulfed many US states over the death of an African-American Minneapolis man named George Floyd, who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck and choked him to death during his arrest. On May 26, all officers involved in the deadly arrest were fired. On May 29, the policeman in question, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. However, on June 3, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison upped the charge against Chauvin to second-degree murder. The three other officers involved in the fatal incident were arrested as well and are now facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
To counter the riots, local law enforcement is often supported by the National Guard. So far, 40 cities, including New York, have enacted a curfew.