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Three journalists receive death threats, several others attacked, harassed by political party supporters

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 31 December 2008, Metropolitan Television (Metro TV), an Accra-based independent television station, filed a complaint at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service about threats and physical attacks on its personnel by supporters of the two main political parties in the country.

The MFWA's correspondent reported that in less than a month the station's reporters have been attacked several times by supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The latest attacks, which prompted the filing of the complaint, included an assault on the station's Ashanti regional correspondent, Clement Kegeri, and an attack that took place in Accra at the residence of the NPP's presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo. In the attack at Akufo-Addo's residence, reporter Dominic Mensah, cameraman Godfred Addi and technician Richard Agama were assaulted

On 29 December, two of Metro TV's reporters were assaulted at the NPP party headquarters. The previous day, two members of the station's crew were attacked in separate incidents at Asutifi South Constituency, in Brong Ahafo, and Bantama constituency, in the Ashanti Region.

In the Asutifi incident, reporter Samuel Annor-Baah and Emamnuel Ayeh were brutally assaulted. Ayeh's camera was seized and later given back to him with the pictures removed.

In Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana, reporter Shirley Quartey and the station's senior cameraman, Eddie Bediako, were trapped by party supporters. Bediako, who was dressed in a jacket identifying him as being from the station, was slapped by party supporters in Sakasa.

The situation was no different in Bantama, in the Ashanti Region, where reporter Prince Frimpong Bediako and Samuel Mills were harassed by NPP supporters

Three senior journalists, news editor Eyeriam Acolatse, Eric Ahianyo and another reporter, have also received death threats.

Acolatse told MFWA that the threats began in August 2008, when the election campaign heated up in the country. She said the threats came from both sides of the political divide.

MFWA has learned that the NPP has since apologised to the station. They have also given assurances that they will provide protection for journalists in their programmes.

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