Pompeo vows probe into harassment, detention of foreign reporters

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a news conference at the State Department in Washington. (AP pic)

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged a probe Wednesday into complaints that foreign news crews covering the street protests against racism and police brutality were mistreated.

Australia, for instance, is investigating a US police attack on two Australian television journalists outside the White House last week.

“I know there have been concerns from some countries of their reporters having been treated inappropriately,” Pompeo told a news conference.

“We’ve seen some of those allegations come into the State Department. You should know and those countries should know we will handle them in a completely appropriate way. We will do our best to investigate them,” he said.

The UN High Commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, reported last week what she called unprecedented aggression against reporters covering the nationwide protests triggered by the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis.

She cited reports that at least 200 journalists were harassed or detained while covering the demonstrations.

Russia – often accused by the United States of violating human rights and the right to free expression – also complained of violence by US police against reporters, in particular against a woman working as a stringer for the Russian news agency Sputnik.