"A democratic society demands free press, and any attack by authorities on journalists simply doing their jobs is an attack on democracy itself," Jacobsen said on Thursday. "We call on the Federal Government of Canada to forcefully condemn these attacks and demand the US government put a stop to attacks on members of the media."
Dozens of reporters, including Sputnik’s Nicole Roussell, have come under fire while reporting on the ongoing civil unrest that erupted on 25 May after African American George Floyd was allegedly murdered by a white police officer in Minnesota in an incident that was captured on video and circulated worldwide.
Roussell, a Sputnik journalist in Washington, DC, said she was fired at by US police several times while covering the Floyd protests, despite saying several times she was a press staffer. As Roussell filmed protesters "being sprayed with mace in their eyes," she was shot at with a rubber bullet on her calf.
On Sunday, RIA Novosti correspondent Mikhail Turgiyev was pepper-sprayed in the face by a Minneapolis police officer despite identifying himself as a reporter, while covering the protests. A VICE television crew was also affected during the incident.
Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency demanded an investigation into the actions of the police. The Russian Foreign Ministry previously regarded the Turgiyev incident as a manifestation of unjustified brutality. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz apologized to reporters who had been detained or attacked by the police on Sunday night. The Russian Embassy in the US, in turn, sent a note to the US State Department.
Earlier in the day, Russia's Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that Moscow is concerned about unjustified use of force by US law enforcement officials against peaceful protesters and journalists, noting that local human rights organizations registered about 100 - and according to some reports at least 200 - attacks on reporters in dozens of US cities.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has repeatedly demanded that US authorities stop targeting journalists who cover the George Floyd protests.