Global surge in attacks against journalists covering protests, says UNESCO

Restrictions on media freedom by State security officials have increased sharply in 2020, the UN agency UNESCO has said.

Between January and June this year, the UN educational, scientific and cultural organisation highlighted 21 protests around the world where the exercise of press freedom has been violated.

Journalists have been attacked, arrested and even killed, UNESCO said in a new report.

In some protests, up to 500 separate violations took place, the UN agency said, citing the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.

During protests linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, violence included the use of rubber bullets or pepper balls, blinding several journalists.

UNESCO’s findings point to a “wider upward trend” in the use of unlawful force by police and security forces over the last five years, it said, with more than 30 protests impeded by police and security forces last year, double the number in 2015.