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Various reporters assaulted by political militants for alleged bias, one seriously injured

(MFWA/IFEX) - In two separate incidents, five journalists were assaulted by political party militants.

On 1 August 2008, four journalists in Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana, were attacked by supporters of the country's two main political parties while covering the ongoing voters' registration exercise in the city.

MFWA's correspondent reported that the incident occurred at a registration centre in the Tamale Central Constituency, when confusion broke out between supporters of ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The journalists involved were Alhassan Abdul Ganiuw Brigandi, reporter for "The Independent"; Isaac Nongya, reporter for Metropolitan TV (Metro TV); the latter's cameraman; and Kwabena Ntow, photographer for "The Chronicle".

According to a report in the 5 August edition of "The Independent", Brigandi was violently attacked by a group of NDC supporters while giving a live report to an Accra-based independent radio station, Citi FM, about some minors allegedly brought by the NDC to registration centre to be registered.

"I was giving a report on what was happening at the polling station to my superiors in Accra, when I heard a voice say that I was an NPP sympathizer. Before I could say 'jack', they started throwing stones at me and beat me up", the newspaper quoted Brigandi as saying.

Brigandi sustained serious body injuries and was admitted to the Tamale regional hospital.

The Metro TV crew was also chased away as they were covering the violence. MFWA learnt that the crew was saved from the crowd through the intervention of the constituency chairman for the NDC.

Both parties have since denied responsibility and condemned the attacks.

In a separate incident, on 3 August Andy Odoom, a journalist for the privately- owned newspaper "The Daily Searchlight", was allegedly assaulted by a man claiming to be a supporter of the NDC.

According to Ken Kuranchie, the newspaper's managing editor, the attacker - who identified himself as "Stephen" - physically assaulted Odoom and accused the newspaper of writing against the NDC party on behalf of the ruling NPP. The incident was reported to the Kasoa police in the Central Region.

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