Organizations concerned about mounting violence against journalists covering student protests in Chile

Reporters Without Borders and the Journalists Union of Chile condemned the increasing violence against journalists in Chile, reported Nación.cl and the news agency EFE.

Reporters Without Borders highlighted the recent attacks on and arrests of journalists during the Chilean protests. Since May, students have been demanding better education.

Arbitrary arrests and targeted physical attacks against journalists had been rare during the demonstrations until the last three weeks,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Chilean spring could get darker as it goes on, especially for the journalists, who are exposed both to the abuses of the carabinero police and the readiness of the most radical demonstrators to do battle. This situation requires vigilance from all parties to this conflict, who must not jeopardize the right to report the news. We call for immediate investigations into the most serious abuses that have already occurred.”

For example, on Sept. 8, Raúl Flores Castillo, editor of the Chilean digital magazine Dilemas, was detained while covering the student protests in Santiago, and police erased the journalist's photos. Then, three days later an Argentine television team was attacked in Chile while covering a parade marking 38 years since the military coup.

Chile's Journalists Union complained that journalists are suffering verbal and physical attacks, and that their materials and tools have been destroyed, because of the demonstrations. "The arrest of journalists simply for the act of reporting is a serious attack on freedom of expression that we will denounce nationally and internationally until the situation is corrected," said Marcelo Castillo, union president.