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  • Incident Reports | 23 September, 2014 (00:00)

    SWAT Team prevents TV crew from going live

    September 23th 2014
    Xinjiang, Urumqi

    A TV crew working for an international 24-hour news broadcaster wanted to cover the verdict in the trial of Ilham Tohti in Urumqi. The local Waiban told them that they were allowed to report outside the courthouse but on the day of the verdict, the crew was not allowed to be near the courthouse. So they set up their live position 300 meters from the courthouse. At around noon, ten plainclothes policemen, some of them very agitated, came to that position and without any talk they started manhandling the Chinese producer. The cameraman was also manhandled when he tried to film the scene. The journalists showed their IDs but one of the policemen threw the producer’s news assistant card to the ground, cursing him and saying that the news assistant card meant nothing and demanding to see instead his national identification card. After a few minutes, two uniformed police appeared and more politely checked the IPC cards and IDs. They allowed the crew to stay at the position. Later on that day, when the crew was about to go live, two SUVs with SWAT officers arrived. The senior officer placed a policeman in front of the camera. Another demanded that we shut down the computer and satellite phone. The journalists explained that they had permission from the Waiban and the senior police officer, but they didn’t care. After the crew contacted the senior police officer by phone, he explained to his colleagues that the crew were not doing anything illegal. After that, the SWAT team members were very nice and cooperative, but the crew had already missed the initial live hit.