1) States should allow and actively facilitate reporting on and the independent monitoring of protests by all media and independent observers without imposing undue limitations on their activities and without official hindrance as far as is possible in all locations.
2) States should ensure that no individuals documenting police actions and human rights violations during protests are specifically targeted because of covering and reporting on protests. Wilful attempts to confiscate, damage or break related equipment, printed material, footage, audio, visual and other recordings should be a criminal offence and those responsible should be held accountable.

3) The photographing or video-recording of the policing of protests and related activities by the media, observers, protesters and other third parties should not be prevented, and any requirement to surrender film or digitally recorded images or footage to law enforcement agencies should be subject to prior judicial scrutiny.

4) States should establish programmes to allow designated and trained independent observers to gain access to protests for the purposes of observing, documenting, and reporting on the protests. They should also be permitted to remain in the vicinity of protests following the issuing of dispersal orders and granted access to detention facilities, unless there are exigent circumstances.

5) In order to ensure the independent coverage and monitoring of protests by the media and independent observers, states should, at the very least:

a) Refrain from imposing accreditation requirements on the media in order for them to be allowed to cover protests except under rare circumstances in which resources, such as time and space at certain policing operations, are limited;

b) Assure as extensively as possible the safety of journalists, media workers and observers, including using special protection measures. The need to guarantee safety, however, should not be used as a pretext to unnecessarily limit their rights, in particular their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of movement and access to information;

c) Fully respect the right of the protection of sources in relation to protests; any restrictions should be subject to the narrow limitations set out under international law;

d) Ensure that journalists and independent observers are not arrested and detained by law enforcement officers as a result of their lack of credentials; nor should they be arrested as a result of their failure to leave an area once a dispersal order is given unless their presence would unduly interfere with police action;

e) Make the role, function, responsibilities and rights of the media and observers an integral part of the training curriculum for law-enforcement officers whose duties include the policing of protests.

To comment in detail on monitoring and reporting on protests, click here

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