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Journalists harassed by party supporters

(CEMESP/IFEX) - "Frontpage Africa" Senior Reporter Nat Bayjay has reported that there was an attempt to attack him by partisans of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). The reporter was quoted as saying that on 1 August 2011, had it not been for the intervention of a political candidate, Acarous Gray, he would have been lynched by CDC partisans and stripped of his working tools.

Bayjay said he had gone to crosscheck allegations of internal wrangling at the CDC headquarters when a group of youths accosted him.

Gray, who was addressing a gathering that the journalist claimed to have witnessed at the CDC headquarters, interceded on Bayjay's behalf saying, "You leave him . . . Nat, you're protected."

"Frontpage Africa" newspaper also reported in its 15 August edition an attack on one of its reporters, whose name is to be ascertained. The incident reportedly happened on 14 August.

Scarcely after the above incident happened, according to "Frontpage Africa", there was a similar verbal threat made against journalists from Real TV and Power TV station. "You must not take a picture here, you paid agents," CDC partisans are quoted to have said when confronting the TV crews.

Finally, in a separate incident, on 15 August, reporter Peter N Toby of the "New Democrat Newspaper" was harassed by CDC partisans.

Toby, who was providing media coverage of the CDC primaries in Bensonville, said the CDC partisans demanded his camera so that they could delete photos he had taken during the primaries. The journalist said they were especially violent when they learnt that he was a "New Democrat" reporter.

The partisans accused Toby of "carrying out a secret operation against the party." The journalist added that the gang leader "was so adamant and they decided to take me to what they said was their security section for interrogation."

According to the reporter, he seized an opportunity to join CDC Chairman Geraldine Doe Sheriff as she left the hall after delivering her speech. "I spotted a motorbike. I jumped on it and commanded the rider to take off," recounted Toby.

CDC primaries have been marred by violence with reports of officials beaten and others besieged on allegations of rigging.

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