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Police assault sports journalists

(MFWA/IFEX) - On July 24, 2011, a group of sports journalists were roughed up by some police personnel deployed at the Accra Sports Stadium to provide security during the FA Cup final match.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) learnt that the incident occurred when the police officers prevented some of the journalists accredited to cover the match from entering the inner perimeter of the stadium to conduct a post-match interview.

One of the journalists, Ameenu Shardow of "GHANAsoccernet," an online newspaper, was violently assaulted by three of the police officers for demanding an explanation from them as to why the journalists were being denied access since they had been duly accredited to enter any part of the stadium.

"I was dragged, punched and electrocuted. In fact I was treated like a common criminal. Even though I did not sustain any physical injury, I am going to the hospital for treatment," Shardow told MFWA.

The journalist said he was saved by the timely intervention of Fred Pappoe, the Vice President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

Shardow was not the only journalist roughed up by the policemen. Others, including Daniel Oduro of "Joy FM," were also affected.

"I was shoved aside by the police officers and I lost my internet modem, an amount of 200 Ghana Cedis (about US$140) and my prescription glasses," Oduro told MFWA.

Christopher Opoku, the head of sports at the Accra-based Metropolitan Television (Metro TV), who confirmed the attacks on his colleagues to MFWA, condemned what he said was "police high-handedness." "When I got to the entrance of the inner perimeter, a police officer asked me to enter because he knew me, but I refused because most of my colleague-journalists were not allowed to enter."

MFWA later learnt that Shardow, who had been treated and discharged from the hospital, was frustrated by the police in his bid to lodge a complaint.

MFWA strongly condemns this attack on journalists by the police. There can be no justification for what took place. Targeting journalists who are discharging their legitimate duties is deplorable.

MFWA calls on the Inspector General of Police to investigate the matter and call his personnel to order.

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