Berlin, October 2, 2019 — Local authorities should quickly and thoroughly investigate an incident in Barcelona in which journalist Laila Jiménez was assaulted by protesters, and ensure that journalists can safely cover demonstrations, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Yesterday, while she was broadcasting during a Catalan independence protest, demonstrators pushed and shoved Jiménez, a reporter for the Telecinco TV channel, and poured vodka over her head, as seen in video of the incident posted online by her employer. Demonstrators also shouted insults at Jiménez, who was forced to relocate her broadcast to avoid further harassment, according to news reports.
Jiménez continued broadcasting after the incident and did not report any injuries, as seen in a Telecinco clip shared on Twitter.
“Authorities must quickly and thoroughly investigate the attacks on Telecinco reporter Laila Jiménez and bring those responsible to justice,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York. “The harassment of journalists covering protests in Spain is far too common. Authorities must put an end to this trend and ensure that journalists can freely and safely cover demonstrations.”
About 18,000 people in Barcelona took part in the protest, which commemorated the second anniversary of a banned independence referendum for Catalonia to secede from Spain, according to news reports.
CPJ emailed questions about the incident to the communications department of the Catalonia police, but did not immediately receive a reply.