Hungary: shameful attack by camerawoman on refugees

Police officers stop a group of migrants after a migrant crowd broke out of at collection point near Roszke village at the Hungarian-Serbian border on September 9, 2015. Some 400-500 migrants on Wednesday broke through police lines in Hungary near the main crossing point from Serbia.  AFP PHOTO / CSABA SEGESVARI

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have today backed their affiliates, the Hungarian Press Union (HPU) and the Association of Hungarian Journalists (AHJ), which slammed a TV camerawoman who was filmed kicking refugees as they fled from police last Tuesday in Hungary.

In a video footage widely shared in media reports on the attack which took place on 8 September, Petra Laszlo, who worked for N1TV, is seen kicking several refugees, including children, as they ran from a police lines during disturbances at Roszke, southern Hungary. The footage, which was filmed by another journalist covering the event, shows Laszlo tripping up a man running with a child in his arms and kicking another running child.

“This is the biggest media scandal in Hungary for the last few months which have been dominated by the coverage of the migrants and refugees crisis,” said the HPU Executive co-chairman, László M. Lengyel. “The whole profession condemns this”.

“This is an unprecedented incident, about what the Hungarian press reported quickly. The reporter was dismissed almost immediately thereafter. The risk of discrimination in the media amplify, so everything must be done to avoid discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political opinions, as well as discrimination due to national or social origin,” added Judit Doros, the AHJ board member responsible for international affairs.

The IFJ and the EFJ were shocked by the shameful behavior of the camerawoman, urging journalists to uphold constantly their professional ethics while covering the current events, so as to avoid undermining their independence and public trust.

N1TV, an online TV station close to Hungary’s far-right, has announced that they fired the camerawoman following the attack as she “behaved in an unacceptable way,” the N1TV’s editor-in-chief Szabolcs Kisberk was quoted saying in an statement appeared on the channel’s Facebook page.

The incident took place as hundreds of migrants broke through a police line at a collection point close to the Serbian border, in Roszke, one of the main accesses to the Schengen space which is used by thousands of refugees, media added.

(Picture credit: AFP/Csaba Segesvari)

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