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Journalist violently assaulted by gendarmes

(MFWA/IFEX) - Ms. Kounkou Mara, a journalist with Le Lynx, a privately-owned newspaper belonging to the Conakry-based Le Lynx-La Lance media group, was on February 27, 2012, reportedly assaulted by gendarmes stationed at the Central Bank of Guinea.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that Ms. Kounkou had gone to the central bank to participate in a TV programme. The programme was part of activities marking the 52nd anniversary celebration of the bank.

“When I got to the entrance of the central bank, gendarmes who were sitting there asked me to show my press card. When I brought it out, they asked me whether I was from state media. I said that as my card shows, I am from the private press. They immediately got annoyed. I went through the gate and was about to enter the hall when a captain caught up with me and ordered me to get back. I did just that.”

Ms. Kounkou, who has since been discharged from hospital, continued: “At the gate, four gendarmes got hold of me and rained blows on me. They then threw me out and I fell down and hit my head against the wall. I injured my head.”

MFWA is concerned that despite the progress in respect for media rights in Guinea following the return to civilian rule after decades of dictatorship, journalists, particularly those from the private media in Guinea, are attacked with impunity, mostly by state security agents. Worse still, the perpetrators of these acts go unpunished. This, the MFWA believes, may promote a culture of impunity and undermine media freedom in the new Guinea.
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