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Police assault radio journalist and briefly detain him

(MFWA/IFEX) - James Donkor, a journalist working with community radio station Radio Progress, in Wa, the capital of Ghana's Upper West region, was reportedly assaulted on 24 October 2009 and briefly detained by two policemen in the area. The journalist, who had photographed a man the policemen had allegedly tied to an electric pole, was accused of "disrespecting" the police officers.

According to a statement issued by the Upper West Regional Branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on 7 November, Donkor was physically assaulted, subjected to a rigorous body search and handcuffed before being detained in a police cell for about two and half hours.

Narrating his ordeal to MFWA in an interview, Donkor said he saw a large crowd gathered outside the Wa Polytechnic where he was attending a function. He said he drew closer and duly introduced himself to the policemen as a reporter. "One of the policemen pushed me, when I enquired about the treatment that was being meted out to the young man," the journalist explained.

The GJA described "the arrest, handcuffing and detention of Donkor by the police as unfortunate, unprofessional and a breach of his fundamental human rights and that of freedom of the press."

Donkor, who is also the station's programme manager, said the policemen also seized his two cellular phones and smashed one of them.

Regional Minister Mahmud Khalid has condemned the attack on the journalist and has ordered an investigation into the matter.

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