A television crew filming in a Polish forest on Saturday were attacked by two men believed to be loggers, leaving a cameraman injured, his camera smashed, and his memory cards stolen.
TV station Polsat News, a private broadcaster, also shared the terrifying detail that the suspects also tried to run over the cameraman- twice.
The TV crew were then filming the Bialowieza Forest, one of Europe’s last primeval woodlands and a UNESCO World Heritage site when the incident took place. The said forest also happens to be at the center of a heated political dispute over large-scale logging ordered by the conservative government of Poland. Both the European Union and various environmentalists strongly oppose the logging.
The European Court of Justice also ruled on Friday for the immediate suspension of the logging in Bialowieza, which is also protected under EU law.
Police have detained two male suspects, aged 22 and 47, after the said attack on Saturday. Their identities have not yet been released. Police said that according to their initial investigations, the suspects appear to be working for a company involved in the logging.
It is not yet clear whether the television crew hit by the attack and their station will file charges against the suspects and their logging company.
What happened could also be seen as not just an “ordinary crime” but also an attack against the media who are supposed to be free to cover such issues. Shooting some footage from the forest and the like is not usually a dangerous event. It is not clear if the suspects were in, any way, provoked by the crew to initiate an attack, or if there were really an intention on the part of the loggers to prevent the media from covering the forest, and or their activities.
The police and the station have both not specified yet what particular footage were the crew filming at that time before they were targeted in the attack- it is interesting to establish whether the crew captured any illegal activity by the suspects.
It is also not clear whether the crew’s memory cards- legal property of the television station- had been returned and if they were or were not tampered with.