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TV cameraman assaulted by opposition party supporters

(MFWA/IFEX) - 19 March 2012 - Jerry Cole, a senior television cameraman of the state-owned Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), was on March 12, 2012 attacked by supporters of the main opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) in Freetown, the capital.

Cole and his colleague, reporter Unisa Deen Kargbo, had gone to record an interview with SLPP officials at the party's headquarters on the ongoing voter registration exercise for the November 17, 2012 general election.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that without provocation, the supporters attacked the journalist while he was shooting persons being interviewed by his colleague Kargbo.

“I don't see where I went wrong to interview any one of them. It was a lady who first approached me in a rude manner and tried to push me out of the building without even asking me why my camera is on. I was only taking the footage while Unisa Deen Kargbo was conducting the interviews. This is a big disappointment for a party that wants to come to power,” Cole told the correspondent.

Cole said his assailants, whom he suspected to be intoxicated with a substance believed to be marijuana, attacked him after they had successfully interviewed Sulaiman Banja Tejan Sie, the SLPP Secretary General.

“These so called supporters attacked and rained all sorts of invectives on me to the extent that a lady attempted to harm me and had it not been for the timely intervention of passers-by and Unisa Deen Kargbo the angry party supporters would have torn me to pieces,” he emphasized.

The MFWA appeals to freedom of expression lovers to petition the SLPP party leadership to restrain their supporters from attacking journalists performing their professional obligations.

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