Public protest turns violent for media in Taiwan

Following a decision by the Taiwanese government to look at reforms for the civil servant pension, protests broke out outside the Legislative Yuan in Teipei. On April 25, the third day of the protests at least 14 journalists were attacked, verbally assaulted and harassed by protesters.

Anti-pension reform protesters gather at the entrance to the parliament building during a demonstration in Taipei on April 25, 2018. 14 journalists were attacked and harassed as they covered the protests. Credit: SAM YEH / AFP

Following a decision by the Taiwanese government to look at reforms for the civil servant pension, protests broke out outside the Legislative Yuan in Teipei. On April 25, the third day of the protests at least 14 journalists were attacked, verbally assaulted and harassed by protesters.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) have condemned the brutal attack on the media and demanded an investigation.

According to local media reports, the protest which was led by retired military personnel turned violent on Wednesday. Some protesters tried to snatch equipment including cameras, while other journalists were dragged away and others spat on. According to the ATJ 14 journalists had their equipment damaged or were physically assaulted and 10 sustained injuries. Following this, 12 journalists have filed police reports.

The ATJ general secretary, Ian Chen, said: “We see it as a grotesque assault on the victims' freedom of speech, which the protesters carried out whilst exercising that of their own. We encouraged media institutions to organise legal task force to assist victims in seek of remedy from the protesters.”  

The President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen condemned the brutal attack towards the journalists and others in a tweet.

The IFJ said: “There is absolutely no reason to attack the media for simply covering a public protest. We welcome the prompt statement from the President, and urge the government to ensure a swift follow up, which will send a clear message that violence against the media will not be tolerated in Taiwan.”

We urge all media outlets and management to ensure employees are provided with adequate safety training and equipment, so to protect themselves during such incidents.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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