Swiss journalists accredited to cover Louvre museum arrested in Abu Dhabi for filming marketplace

 12 Nov 2017 - 19:01

Swiss journalists accredited to cover Louvre museum arrested in Abu Dhabi for filming marketplace
A general view shows part of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum designed by French architect Jean Nouvel on November 11, 2017 during its official opening to public on Saadiyat island in the Emirati capital. AFP / Giuseppe Cacace

AFP

Geneva:  Two journalists covering the opening of the Abu Dhabi Louvre museum for Swiss public broadcaster RTS were arrested and held for two days, their employer said Sunday, slamming an attack on press freedom.

Journalist Serge Enderlin and cameraman Jon Bjorgvinsson were arrested in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday while they were shooting images at an outdoor market, the broadcaster said.

RTS "condemns the violation of press freedom targeting its journalists," RTS chief Pascal Crittin said on Twitter.

The men, who had arrived in the country early last week and who were accredited to cover the opening of the new Louvre museum, were held for more than 50 hours, with no possibility to communicate with the outside world, the broadcaster said.

The journalists were interrogated for up to nine hours at a time, and were blindfolded as they were shuttled between different locations, it said.

Their camera, computers, hard drives and other material were confiscated, RTS said.

The authorities appeared to want to know the reason for their shoot in the marketplace, where they seemed angered by the fact that Pakistani workers had been filmed.

They also asked the journalists if they were working with a third-party state or a non-governmental organisation, RTS said.

The men were finally released overnight to Sunday and were permitted to fly back to Zurich, leaving their equipment and most of their other belongings behind, it added.