There will be no conduct, punishment or even reprimand for the soldiers who on Tuesday – outside the state of emergency – stopped and searched the journalistic materials of three photojournalists. The Minister of National Defense claims that there can be no question of any consequences. – They got an award from me. In the sense that I praised them for their behavior – said Mariusz Błaszczak on RMF FM. He also added that the soldiers behaved “as they should”.
The TVN24 editorial team decided to publish excerpts from the recorded intervention against photojournalists. Including the conversations of soldiers who did not know they were being recorded, but were aware that they might be breaking the law.
On Wednesday, General Br. Tomasz Piotrowski, the operational commander of the armed forces, tried to explain the actions of the soldiers. “You suddenly see three men, masked in dark jackets, in the direction of the campsite,” he said.
However, his words contradict the first fragment of the recording – a quiet conversation with the guards, even before the photojournalists started working. – Good evening. Really, we’re at work too. We know that you are at work. We can take these photos. So if you turn your back, it’s okay anyway. After all, no one wants to make anyone angry here – you can hear one of the photojournalists on the recording.
Later in the recording you can hear assurances that the journalists are not detained:
Photojournalist: So we’re not stopped?
Soldier: You just have to wait.
Photojournalist: Well, if you stop us, we have to ask who is stopping us and for what reason.
Soldier: No, no, no. Does not stop.
Photojournalist: Oh. Thank you then.
The recording and reports from journalists show that the detention itself was supposed to happen moments later, when the photographers had already packed their cameras, got into the car and wanted to drive away.
– It turns out that they don’t have any indications of who they are. They don’t want to talk too much. They hide behind some slogans that are difficult to understand because they are masked. Then, after disguising them, it turns out that two of them have stubble, which in conditions of limited visibility can be perceived differently – argued on Wednesday gen. Tomasz Piotrowski.
The “camouflage” mentioned by the operational commander of the armed forces are simply protective masks – required by law when strangers are traveling in one car.
– They told us to separate. About three meters from each other and they told us to keep our hands above our heads. Look between your own feet – says Maciej Nadrdalik, a photojournalist from “The New York Times”.
– Hold those paws up high. F *** i cant take pictures! How many f *** a times can you? one of the soldiers said to the photojournalist.
The photojournalists were meticulously searched and then their hands were tied behind their backs with cable ties. They were ordered to wait in front of the fence. Back then, the soldiers had to search their car, view the photos taken and the contents of their cell phones.
Soldier: What do they have …
Soldier: How the f ** k?
Soldier: Soldiers n ****** they have.
The inspection continued.
Soldier: There is the military in the photos?
Soldier: There is an army. The army, the police, the Border Guard.
Soldier: Seeing it all for me.
The materials collected by journalists are, by law, covered by journalistic secrecy, the violation of which is subject to criminal liability. The recording shows that the soldiers are aware of this.
Soldier: Do you have gloves?
Soldier: Our prints are left everywhere.
Soldier: Yes, we left our prints, but they are probably incomplete.
Soldier: F *** and mine is full.
Soldier: There are messages on the phone. Peter. Did you rub these phones?
– After it turned out that there were talk of journalists who wanted to perform their duties there, they were fired – Stanisław Żaryn assured on Wednesday.
Reports from journalists show that the whole situation lasted about an hour and a half and they were released only after arriving at the police patrol site. At that time, soldiers were to wonder if they could delete photos or confiscate entire cameras.
Soldier: Unfortunately for us, we are not in the zone of that f ****** emergency.
Soldier: No, we’re not.
Soldier: It’s not here.
Soldier: When they are from the border, they were in the zone for the bank, right? On the photos.
Soldier: They all have you.
Soldier: And then it would have to be secured.
In an official statement, the Ministry of National Defense said that “the intervention was fully authorized”.
– Nobody hit anyone. Nobody insulted anyone, and no one tugged at anyone. This is how the situation was told and it is proven here – argued on Wednesday gen. This year. Tomasz Piotrowski.
– I felt like I met bandits, not people who make us feel safe in this country – said Maciej Moskwa, a photojournalist of Testigo Documentary and Gazeta Wyborcza.
Detained photojournalists work for, among others, Gazeta Wyborcza, the European Photo Agency and the American New York Times.
– This is not about the journalists of the OKO.press editorial office who are there, or of “Gazeta Wyborcza” or Onet. It’s about people. Those who watch or read us here, who have the right to know what is going on there, explains Agata Szczęśniak, OKO.press journalist.
Author: Tomasz Pupiec / Source: Facts in the afternoon