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Journalist Bismark Bebli attacked at opposition party rally

(MFWA/IFEX) - Bismark Bebli, political reporter of "The Chronicle", an Accra-based independent newspaper, was attacked on 18 January 2009 by irate supporters of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), while covering a post-election rally at Abeka Lapaz, a suburb of Accra. Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)?s correspondent reported that the supporters heckled and insulted the journalist, destroying his notebook in the process. He was rescued by another party supporter, Augustine Mills, who took Bebli to safety.

According to Bebli, the NPP supporters pounced on him as soon as they realised he was a reporter. The supporters chanted that Ghana?s President, John Evans Atta Mills, was going to die because they claimed he had been sick for a long time. "They said I was reporting for Radio Gold and that the station was responsible for the defeat of their party in the election", the reporter told MFWA?s correspondent in a telephone interview.

Radio Gold is a pro-government radio station and was critical of the then NPP government during the December general election. Since the Electoral Commission announced the results of the run-off election on 30 December 2008, NPP supporters have attacked several journalists and destroyed their equipment. On 30 December, a reporter of Ghana News Agency (GNA), the state-owned wire service, suffered a similar attack by the party supporters outside the electoral commission?s offices. The supporters who mistook the journalist to be working with Radio Gold attacked him and tore his notepad.

Five different of Metropolitan Television (Metro TV) were also attacked on separate occasions by the same party supporters and three cameras were destroyed. Several other journalists have also had their share of the attacks.

For further information on the attack on Metropolitan Television crews, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99585/

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