CAJ condemns assault on CTV Ottawa cameraman

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is condemning an assault on a CTV News photographer Friday.

CTV Ottawa cameraman Chris Scott was punched multiple times outside an Ottawa court where tow truck driver Mohamed Haj-Saleh was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Haj-Saleh, 26, was convicted in September with dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm in a Nov. 2015 crash in Nepean that claimed the life of 55-year-old Giai Ly. 

CTV reported that the incident escalated from cameramen receiving threats from the driver’s supporters on their way into court, to assault when Haj-Saleh’s mother was taken away on a stretcher following the sentencing.

“News reporters and photographers serve an important role in informing the public and must be able to do their work free of violence, intimidation or threat,” said CAJ president Karyn Pugliese, in a release.

It’s not clear whether charges will be laid against Scott’s attackers.

While accustomed to verbal attacks, physical assaults on videographers remain relatively uncommon in Canada. A resident of a Victoria homeless camp was found guilty in 2017 of an unprovoked attack on CTV Vancouver Island cameraman Kirk Duncan, who kept rolling during the incident.

In perhaps the most high-profile incident this year, BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was assaulted at a rally for President Donald Trump in El Paso, Texas this past February.

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