Strasbourg Court urged to protect rights of journalists covering protests

The Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI), ARTICLE 19 and the Mass Media Defence Centre have submitted a joint intervention to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Butkevich v Russia, urging it to strengthen the human rights protection afforded to those reporting on protests.  The intervention was drafted by Caoilfhionn Gallagher and Keina Yoshida.

 

The case has been brought to the European Court by Maksim Butkevich, a Ukrainian journalist who covered protests taking place in St Petersburg during the G8 Summit of 2006.  He photographed a protest which was subject to police intervention and was ordered by officers to switch his camera off.  Depite complying with the order, explaining his actions and clearly identifying himself as a journalist, he was taken to a police station, arrested and charged with “participation in a non-authorised march and creating a risk of accident threatening his own and others’ lives and limb”, and was eventually convicted to a period of two days’ detention.  The case raises serious concerns regarding freedom of expression, and the law enforcement’s response to newsgathering, in Russia, and it raises issues about the appropriate approach for the European Court to adopt.

 

More information about MLDI, ARTICLE 19 and MMDC’s concerns and the intervention are available in MLDI’s press statement which is available here.

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