The detention of three photojournalists who took pictures of the military camp was necessary, argues Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister of National Defense.
Three photojournalists were detained by soldierswhen they wanted to take pictures of a military camp near the border with Belarus, but not in the state of emergency. The defense ministry argued in a statement that the photojournalists did not introduce themselves and did not warn the military about their willingness to take photos. What is different is the account of Maciej Moskva, one of the detained, and the video recorded during the detention.
Błaszczak: the intervention was necessary
Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak commented on this situation in a Twitter entry. He wrote that “he stands behind all the soldiers serving on the border”.
“Intervention against – as it later turned out – photojournalists was necessary. The duty of the soldiers on guard is to protect their colleagues and the place of the grouping” – he added.
A detained photojournalist: they chased us to the fence, ordered us to undress, keep our hands above our heads
The course of the detention was reported in an interview with TVN24 by Maciej Moskwa. – We approached the gate of the military camp with the cameras, we wanted to document the presence of the army. We introduced ourselves, we said that we are from the media, from the press. And we just took pictures. We went back to the car and wanted to keep going. We have been arrested. Armed people in the uniforms of the Polish Army stood in front of and behind the car – he said.
Then a “very aggressive officer” approached the car and, using “very vulgar, primitive language”, ordered the photojournalists to get out of the car. – He was then informed that we are journalists – said Moscow.
This version of the events is confirmed by a recording made by one of the photojournalists during the detention. – Are you getting off, or should I leave you? Get out of the car, fucking right now. Already. Get off right now, you have a minute. F *** a, get out of the car, says the man in a raised voice.
“I’m a journalist,” says one of the reporters. – Get out the f *** – he hears in response. – I’m a journalist, I get out of the car – repeats the photojournalist.
– Armed men chased us to the fence, ordered us to undress, our coats were taken off. We were ordered to keep our hands above our heads. After some time, we were handcuffed with plastic. In my case, they were much too tight. I had to raise my hands up so that my blood could run out of me, said Moscow.
Ministry of National Defense: the photojournalists had no markings
The Ministry of National Defense claims that the photojournalists had no signs “proving that they are journalists”.
After the detention – writes the ministry – “these people showed documents confirming their identity, but they did not show their press IDs until some time later”. “Military officials do not confirm that before taking the photos, journalists introduced themselves and warned that they would take photos” – we read in the statement.
On Wednesday, the operational commander of the Polish Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Tomasz Piotrowski, assessed that the detention of photojournalists in the border area by soldiers was correct. He stated that “absolutely no one hit anyone, no one insulted anyone, no one tugged at anyone.”
Main photo source: Wojtek Jargiło / PAP