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Ruling party supporters assault journalists

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 12 December 2009, five journalists in the Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana were reportedly assaulted by people believed to be members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) party while they were covering an awards ceremony in Sunyani, the regional capital, as part of the Golden Jubilee celebration of the region.

The state-owned "Ghanaian Times" newspaper reported in its 14 December issue that the attackers, apart from injuring the journalists, also took away their equipment including two cellular phones, a wallet containing an unspecified amount of money and notepads.

The journalists include Dennis Peprah, Ian Motey and Kwasi Ampratwum Mensah, regional correspondents with the state-owned Ghana News Agency (GNA), the "Ghanaian Times" and the "Daily Graphic", respectively. The others are Larry Paa Kwesi Moses, of the Accra-based TV Africa, and Michael Boateng, of the privately-owned "Ghanaian Chronicle" newspaper.

In an interview with MFWA, Boateng said Prepah was severely beaten after he complained about a barrage of insults hurled at the journalists by the angry NDC supporters. They allegedly accused the journalists of biased reporting against the NDC.

A vehicle that carried the reporter out of danger had its backdoor window smashed by the attackers.

The attack on the journalists reportedly took place in full view of several NDC leaders, including the regional minister and municipal and district chief executives of the region.

The regional Ghana Journalists Association, whose chairman, Ian Motey, was one of those assaulted, issued a statement on 13 December condemning the attack and demanding the arrest and prosecution of the journalists' assailants.

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