7 January 2013

Ghana: In Ghana, Journalists Attacked After Presidential Elections

Photo: AllAfrica
Journalists at work.

press release

Several journalists reported being attacked in the aftermath of Ghana's contested presidential elections on December 7, 2012, according to CPJ interviews, news reports, and local press freedom organizations.

The journalists, who work for local outlets Joy News, Metro TV, and TV3, said they were attacked by supporters of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), news reports said. Local news accounts reported that the journalists were attacked after Jake Otanka Obestebi Lamptey, national chairman of the NPP, said on December 9 that the outlets were manipulating election figures in favor of the ruling party.

News reports said Lamptey later issued a statement condemning anti-press attacks by NPP supporters and apologizing for any harm to journalists.

CPJ compiled a list of the attacks on journalists, based on CPJ interviews and news reports.

David Attoh, a reporter for Metro TV in the eastern region of Kwahu, an NPP stronghold, told CPJ that on December 8 he was surrounded by a group of armed people who said his employer was airing false coverage of the elections. Attoh said the crowd saw his Metro TV jacket while he was preparing to report live on provisional election results. He said the crowd pushed and hit him and that he was able to escape only after a passerby intervened. The journalist also said his equipment, including a video camera and microphone, was damaged.

Joy News reporter Benjamin Tetteh told CPJ that on December 9, supporters of the NPP prevented him from interviewing the party spokesman at the campaign headquarters in Accra, the capital. Tetteh said a party official pushed him and NPP supporters made him leave the office. The episode occurred after Tetteh had reported that early projections showed incumbent President Johan Mahama as the winner, he said.

Also on December 9, NPP supporters attacked a Metro TV vehicle occupied by a news team invited to attend a press conference at the NPP party office, according to Metro TV reporter Shirley Kwarley Quartey, who was in the car, and the Ghana Journalists Association. Quartey, a cameraman, another reporter, and a driver were not injured in the attack, but the vehicle's windshield was smashed, the Media Foundation for West Africa reported.

Supporters of the NPP attacked a Joy News vehicle on December 10, according to news reports. Manasseh Awuni, a senior broadcast reporter for the outlet, a Joy News cameraman, and a driver were following the motorcade of Benin President Yayi Boni, the chairman of the African Union, the reports said. Awuni told CPJ that NPP supporters used wooden sticks to attack the car, breaking a light and severely denting the vehicle. Awuni said the team was saved by police and soldiers who escorted them to a nearby police station.

NPP supporters attacked at least one journalist reporting on a December 11 demonstration in Accra to contest the election results, according to news reports and the Ghana Journalists Association. Joy News reporter Emmanuel Anteh told CPJ he was filming the rally with his phone when someone in the crowd recognized him and said, "This guy is from Joy." Anteh said he was beaten severely and sustained bruises on his face, a swollen eye, and a fractured hip. The journalist was treated for his injuries at a local hospital, the Ghana Journalists Association said.

NPP supporters attacked Edward Balami, a reporter for TV3, and cameraman Steven Boadi after they sought information on a stabbing of a supporter of the ruling party, according to news reports. TV3 reported that Boadi sustained bruises on his face. Balami was not injured, news reports said.

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