Statewatch News online: Police to provide the "news" during Danish Presidency

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Police to provide the "news" during Danish EU Presidency

The Danish Presidency of the EU has invoked powers to check people at borders and entry points for the whole six months of its office - normally this power, under Article 2 of the Schengen Agreement (to suspend free movement and reintroduce checks), is invoked for specific meetings for two or three days.

It is reported that the Copenhagen police are preparing special holding centres (for up to 300 people) in the underground carparks of police stations and the Netherlands police have supplied specially armoured vehicles. The police are reportedly anxious to avoid their over-reaction at an anti-Masstricht protest in 1993 when 11 people were shot. This time, apparently, they will be issued with tear gas.

In an extraordinary move the Copenhagen police has set up their own press room and website to provide the "news" when protests take place:

Copenhagen police to act as journalists

Danish police plan to act as journalists during the Danish EU presidency in order to secure a more balanced picture of demonstrations, according to Norwegian paper Aftenposten. On the site, two persons from the police information center will be writing articles on police actions during demonstrations as seen through the eyes of the police, writes Aftenposten, quoting Flemming Steen Munch, superintendent of the Copenhagen police:

"In newspapers and TV there is always a strong focus on heavily equipped policemen lying on top of a slight girl. What you never see is that two seconds previously the same girl has been standing holding a paving stone in her hand, ready to throw it at a policeman who is lying down. We think that we shall be able to write stories that have a beginning, a climax and an end."

Jørgen Poulsen, professor of journalism at the Roskilde University Center is sceptical: "The police journalists risk facing difficult ethical dilemmas. You might have situations where journalists have no access and where consequently the police journalists will be the only ones to report on the event. That would require great tact by the police," he says, according to Aftenposten.

1. Written by Luise Hemmer Pihl, Edited by Daniela Spinant, from: EUobserver 08.07.2002
2. Danish police: "news" site

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