The assaults committed against two journalists of VAT, at events antimasque this weekend, have been criticized on all platforms Sunday, both by the management of TVA and its union by the vice-premier of Quebec.
During a protest against the wearing of masks compulsory in Montreal on Saturday, the reporter from TVA Yves Poirier has been the target of insults and intimidation on the part of protesters. The latter has even received a beer can to the face.
The next day, in Quebec city, another journalist of the channel, Kariane Bourassa, has been bound against his will and taken to the waist by two men who were not wearing a mask, while she was trying to respect the rules of the public Health.
The reporter from TVA Kariane Bourassa has been bullied and “cuddle” during his coverage of the event antimasque of Quebec, on Sunday.
“The direction of TVA condemns such acts which are not only of intimidation in the face of work in journalism and an affront to the integrity of our reporter, but also a threat to the safety of our journalists and cameramen on the ground”, indicates VAT in a press release.
The company is said to be in communication with the police authorities and “is currently evaluating its use”.
Earlier in the day yesterday, the vice-premier of Québec, Geneviève Guilbault, did not mince words in denouncing the “contempt” that some protesters antimasque shown to journalists in the last days.
“This is not acceptable, […] we can not tolerate situations like that,” insisted Genevieve Guilbault in point of press in Montreal.
“Indecent, stupid and moron”
“This is very disturbing, disheartening and unacceptable. At this time, in Quebec, there is an atmosphere of viciousness and non-respect for the journalists who is in the minority of people, but more and more noisy,” said vice-president of the Fédération professionnelle des journalists du Québec (FPJQ), Jean-Thomas Léveillé.
According to him, when situations like this weekend happen, it is not only the journalist who is bullying who must live with the consequences of it, but the entire population.
The union that represents the journalists of VAT calls for measures to protect freedom of the press and journalists.
“The social media are full of conspiracy theories that lend themselves to journalists intentions are evil and that make them the scapegoats for everything and anything. These theories do not contaminate the individuals and groups, which include as a license to intimidate, harass and attack. In the civil society as a whole, we need to roll up the sleeves to find solutions and apply them, without waiting for other slip-ups,” stresses Carl Beaudoin, provincial president of CUPE 687.
“It is obscene, stupid and moron”, lance from his side, the advocate and facilitator QUB radio François-David Bernier, about the events that were filmed live.
Assault army, attempt to cause harm to others, and sexual aggression: all these charges could be filed against one or the other of the individuals at fault, in terms of their involvement in the events of this weekend, assures Me Bernier.
A fundamental right
Bullying pure and simple, of a journalist is heavily punished by the criminal Code. Anyone who is found guilty of this act is liable to a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
“The freedom of the press is a fundamental right that is very important to save. If it is violated, it can cause a lot of harm to the system, that is why this kind of intimidation is heavily punished,” says the lawyer, stating, however, that it would be unlikely that the individuals concerned écopent of 14 years in prison.
Me Bernier believes that there is “definitely” matter to trigger criminal prosecutions, and encourages the two journalists to file a complaint.
“If, in addition, they had contracted the COVID-19 because of these people, there could be accusations of serious assaults”, he adds.
– With the collaboration of the QMI agency