Australia

Foreign correspondents condemn Australia after arrest of French journalists

0:00

Foreign correspondents have condemned the arrest of a French news crew while covering an anti-Adani protest in north Queensland this week.

Foreign correspondents have condemned the arrest of a French news team covering a north Queensland protest.

The Foreign Correspondents' Association Australia and South Pacific (FCA) says the arrest of television correspondent Hugo Clement and his crew this week was "a nasty and dangerous development".

The group working for French public broadcaster France 2 were taken into custody while filming an anti-Adani protest near Abbot Point on Monday.

Queensland police charged the group with trespassing while filming a demonstration, which included two protesters who had locked their hands inside a concrete barrel.

Police at Monday's protest.
Police at Monday's protest.
AAP

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the FCA said the arrests were a concern to every working journalist 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," it read.

"We demand that all foreign correspondents are not impeded in their work in this way again in Australia."

The organisation has sought assurances from Australian state and federal governments that the police action 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," the statement read.

It follows Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman's calls for the Queensland Police Service commissioner to explain why the group were charged.

Media union president Marcus Strom has called for the charges to be dropped.

Queensland Police on Tuesday declined to take a firm position on the matter.

"As the trespass matters will be heard in court, it would be inappropriate to provide detailed comment at this time," a police statement said.

Mr Clement told AAP police arrested the crew without explanation.

Online video shows the group identifying themselves as journalists working for public broadcaster France 2.

It comes as the Queensland Resources Council has supported harsher penalties for activists who break the law and commit illegal trespass put before parliament by the state opposition.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch