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Ghanaian journalists beaten by church members

On August 5, 2013, a reporting crew from an Accra-based privately-owned radio station, Adom FM, was physically assaulted by a group of angry church members belonging to the Mighty Chapel International, in Kotobabi – a suburb of Accra, the capital.

Reporter Isaac Owusu, anchor Kofi Adomah and news editor Nii Narku received heavy blows and had their clothes torn by church members. Adomah's camera and voice recorder were also confiscated by the angry members.

Narrating the ordeal to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Narku said he and his colleagues drove to the church receiving a distress call from a sympathetic member of the church. The church member said that some other members had seized Owusu and were threatening to lynch him.

"As soon as we got closer to the church premises, angry members (male and females) numbering about twelve, pounced on us and manhandled us. They rained insults on us and called us all sorts of names because we were journalists," Narku said.

"Owusu had been assigned to cover a previous case where a former church member is alleged to have been assaulted by some members. After he had interviewed the police on the alleged assault, Owusu went to the church premises to interview the head pastor, Chief Mensah. Upon sighting Owusu, the angry members charged at him, dragged him into the auditorium and assaulted him," Narku added.

For his part, Owusu told the privately-owned online news site,, that his harmless attempt to get a word from the pastor earned him merciless beatings and detention by the angry members, who also threatened to lynch him.

The journalists have since lodged a complaint at the Kotobabi police station and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has also been informed.

This is the second time within the year that journalists have been assaulted at a church premises. On May 7, 2013, a group of journalists were unlawfully detained for several hours by macho men purported to be bodyguards of Prophet T.B. Joshua, founder and overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). The journalists were locked up in a room at the church premises for filming vehicular traffic and a large crowd that had gathered in wait of the prophet.

The MFWA is worried about these recent trends of religious individuals taking the law into their hands and attacking journalists who are only performing their professional duties.

We are particularly worried that these assaults most often are not fully investigated to their logical conclusion. We urge the management of Adom FM and the leadership of the GJA to pursue this case and ensure the perpetrators are brought to book.

For more information please contact:
Kwame Karikari (Prof)
Executive Director
Tel: 233-0302-24 24 70
Fax: 233-0302-22 10 84

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