Foreign Correspondents condemn arrest of French Journalists in Australia

MEDIA STATEMENT

Arrest of visiting French Journalists in Queensland

The recent arrest of French television correspondent Hugo Clément and his crew during filming near Abbot Point in Queensland is of great concern to every working journalist in Australia – including resident foreign correspondents and members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association, Australia & South Pacific (FCA).

The FCA Board and members of the Association condemn this police action taken against Hugo Clément and his team, and any further attacks on media freedom, in the name of all foreign correspondents based in Australia and travelling to this country and its territories for short-term assignments and we demand that all foreign correspondents are not impeded in their work in this way again in Australia.

Australia has been known over many decades for its respect for the media, and for the courtesies and facilitation given to foreign correspondents to conduct their work while on either short-term visits or as longer-term residents in Australia.

To see any arrests or restrictions placed on working media, and in this case arrests of visiting correspondents’, is seen by us all as a nasty and dangerous development and threat to the modern democracy for which Australia has been known and admired previously.

We seek assurances from all Australian Governments – federal and state – that this police action against Hugo Clément and his television crew, who were simply reporting on an event, will not be repeated.

We also seek assurances from all governments in Australia that foreign correspondents will be accorded full respect, courtesies and assistance in carrying out their work here in the future.

(Signed)

The Board and Members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association, Australia & South Pacific (FCA)

24 July 2019