Report: Hungarian Police force journalist to delete video

History

A journalist from the Associated Press was reportedly held in brief detention by the Hungarian Police and forced to delete footage that he recorded of a Hungarian police dog knocking down a refugee crossing the Hungarian-Serbian border on Saturday, news reports said yesterday.

AP cameraman Luca Muzi was filming refugees crossing the border from Serbia through a field when a muzzled police dog knocked down a Syrian man, who reportedly cried out: "Please, please, Iʼm a refugee!".

The journalist said that after he identified himself to the Hungarian Police as an AP journalist, he was not allowed to leave the scene, and he reportedly was not allowed to contact fellow colleagues traveling with him.

Muzi says he was taken to a dark area outside the registration center at Röszke, and asked to show the footage, before being told to delete all the material from his memory card. Muzi said he lost two daysʼ worth of work and claims that his identification was only returned to him after he deleted the footage.

According to a New York Times report, the Associated Press sent a protest letter to government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács on Tuesday calling the officersʼ behavior "unacceptable" and saying journalists "should be able to cover news events without ... risking physical abuse, and without fear that the government will destroy legally obtained footage."

Citing reports by the Hungarian Police, Kovács disputed the AP’s account, saying that Hungarian police officers asked the journalist to show images to determine whether any of the images portrayed the police – which Kovács insists the police have the right to do. After no images of the officers were found, they did not ask that the pictures be deleted, Kovács reportedly said.

"The dogs may bark — that is what they are trained for, to be a deterrent and a bit frightening — that is why there is a dog. But ... it is certain that the dogs did not attack," he said in a phone interview, according to The New York Times.

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