Security forces in Togo on March 14, 2013 prevented a group of journalists from demonstrating in front of the old Presidential Palace in Lome, the capital. The journalists had gathered there to protest against a recent law passed by the country's Parliament, granting more powers to the media regulatory body to impose sanctions on the media without recourse to the Courts, as was the practice.
According to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent, the security officers angered by the presence of the journalists, fired tear gases directly at them, injuring Younglove Egbeboua, the Secretary-General of the Union of Information Agents and Journalists of the Public Outlets (SAINTJOP).
Egbeboua, suffered a fractured jaw and wounds in the mouth but was treated and discharged at a local hospital.
The demonstration is the last of a three-day protest against this law which was passed on February 19, 2013 and considered by many to be contradictory to other provisions within the Togolese Constitution.
On March 12, the Togolese media embarked on a nation-wide media blackout. They also wore red clothes and headbands on March 13, to show their disapproval of the law.
The new legislation grants the media regulatory body, the High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC), powers to suspend any media or order the withdrawal of a publication without going through the Courts.
The MFWA emphasizing its call to the Togolese government to withdraw this law, petitions the security forces to refrain from further harassments and respect the journalists' rights to peacefully demonstrate, as guaranteed by the Constitution of Togo.