Seven News reporter attacked in Melbourne protests

Updated: Paul Dowsley grabbed in a headlock and doused in what he believes is urine, during Melbourne protests.

Seven News reporter Paul Dowsley has been attacked on camera whilst covering Melbourne protests in the CBD.

This morning hundreds of protesters arrived at the CFMEU building, to be met by police Riot squad.

As protestors marched through the city a man was seen on camera gripping Dowsley in a headlock as others appeared to join in.

After he recovered Dowsley said some other protesters did stop and check he and his cameraman were OK.

“There was a group there who certainly targeted us a few minutes ago, we were standing on a seat trying to get an elevated view as the protest group walked past, a few in the crowd had it in for mainstream media,” he told Ann Sanders.

“I’m not sure what you saw on screen but a man came from the side grabbed me around the neck and others then joined in and started a scuffle.”

Dowsley said he and his cameraman had a bottle of what they believed to be urine poured on them.

A can of energy drink was also thrown at his head, leaving a cut.

The clash follows the Victorian government’s decision last week to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all workers in the construction industry.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, which is pro-vaccination, maintains that most of the protestors are not union members.

The government today confirmed 403 coronavirus cases were directly linked to the construction sector, last night announcing the construction industry would be shut for two weeks.


MEAA Media Release:

Journalists should be able to go about their work informing the public without facing assault from police or protesters, says the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance.

MEAA has written to Victoria Police to complain about at least four incidents when journalists were manhandled, capsicum sprayed and detained while covering an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Saturday.

After a television reporter was assaulted several times while covering another protest in Melbourne yesterday, the union has also called on media employers to ensure that journalists are as safe as possible while doing their jobs at public gatherings.

MEAA Media section’s federal vice-president Karen Percy said it appeared as though media workers were being targeted by protesters and police alike.

“Journalists are neutral observers, simply doing a job,” Ms Percy said. “An attack on one journalist, is an attack on us all.

“Police and protesters must accept that the media provides an essential service, particularly during the pandemic, in keeping our community informed.”

MEAA is urging media organisations to review their safety protocols and to ensure proper protections are in place.

“Greater safety measures need to be put in place to allow professional journalists to their jobs,” Ms Percy said.

MEAA members were among those harmed on Saturday. Vision shows journalists being crash-tackled, capsicum-sprayed, hand-cuffed, cautioned and arrested, searched, and questioned before being released.

Despite being clearly identifiable as members of the media, some were deliberately targeted by police officers.

Yesterday, a reporter and crew were assaulted by protesters, including having urine thrown over them, being struck with a drink can and being held in a headlock. Threats and abuse were directed at other journalists as they reported on the protest.

“MEAA has written to Police Minister Lisa Neville, seeking assurances that Victoria Police members must make the effort to identify and differentiate working media from protesters and allow the media to do its job without fear of assault or intimidation by police,” Ms Percy said.

“The media must be allowed to do its job without fear of assault or intimidation by police.

“MEAA will also be contacting news editors to remind them of their obligations under workplace health and safety laws, and urging them to make their employees safe and secure when at work.

“Journalists and media workers have a duty and a responsibility to report the news and must be able to do so in safety, without the threat of intimidation or harassment.

“It’s also crucial that the community at large respects the work of the media and does not fall into the trap of believing baseless accusations of fake news that have led to violent physical assaults on working journalists in other countries.”

Source: Seven News

6 Responses

  1. I was watching when he got hit in the head with the can of drink, I thought he was going to be knocked out was shocking to watch just in the middle of him talking to the camera. He was actually interviewing people on the street as well while there, he later interviewed the guy that helped him after he’d been put in a headlock and had urine thrown on him. Disgraceful scenes makes you want to avoid the city even more than ever now.

  2. At the same time I just wish reporters would keep out of the shot and not block the camera showing what’s really happening. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The same applies to weather reporters out in torrential rain and wind telling viewers to “stay indoors”. They add nothing to the pictures, quite the contrary. A few weeks ago Joe O’Brien had to ask a reporter to get out of the way so we could actually see what she was talking about (torn off roofs). In the Melbourne instance there was no need for the reporter to be in the thick of it. He wasn’t interviewing anyone (such as we saw in NSW).

  3. These so called humans are disgusting. They need to grow up. It’s only for two weeks. Move on. You are not special. Have a little think about the tourism industry or the entertainment industry, you don’t see them having a protest. Just grow up and get the vaccine and stay home. Seriously. People are unbelievable.

    1. Agree, the arts industry has been shut down for months and they received zero funding from the government (remember they are classified as casual contract workers) and you don’t see them rioting the streets.

      This is the sort of thing you see in America, not here. These people are nothing short of thugs and bullies. I’ll give them some rope and agree that some of this is pent up anger over their treatment for the last 12-18 months …but what I’ve seen so far from these “protests”, they should be arrested and thrown in jail.

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