The Pen and the Camera are not Enemies; Neither are Uniforms

Eduardo Bertoni, Representative of the Regional Office for South America of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR)

This paper by Eduardo Bertoni seeks to provide inputs so that decision-makers and public policymakers can take into account different angles of the current issues on the international agenda, always having the existing international standards as the main line.

It contributes to an ever-increasing, plural and well-informed debate on key issues of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

It highlights situations related to the journalistic coverage of street demonstrations and police action; to the access to the information sought by the press and related to investigations carried out by the security forces; and the response given by security forces to situations of threats or attacks to people who are carrying out their work as journalists, paying particular attention to this conflict from a gender perspective.

The report proposes strategies for reducing confrontations between journalists and security forces, which include, among others:

•   Media outlets and employers should pay attention to safety measures, including providing appropriate training and equipment to journalists when sending them to cover protests. They should also provide the same resources to freelance journalists when using the reports they provide.

•   National authorities should consider appointing an ombudsman responsible for treating cases by the police, other security forces, and the press during these situations. This will ensure the appointment of an official to monitor and help curb police attacks on the press while reporting on protests.

•   The same ombudsman or similar figure should also be authorized to make recommendations for investigation and prosecution of government as well as civilian attacks on the press.

It emphasizes the need for training as one of the best mechanisms for reducing tensions between journalists and security forces.


Eduardo Bertoni, “The Pen and the Camera are not Enemies; Neither are Uniforms”, 2022.