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Photojournalists attacked at government ceremony in Ghana

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 6 March, 2013, two photojournalists accredited to cover Ghana's 56th independence anniversary ceremony were physically assaulted by security officials at the event.

While Nii Martey Botwe of the state-owned Daily Graphic had his genitals electrocuted, his colleague, Vincent Dzatse, of the state-owned Ghanaian Times was slapped on the face several times by military personnel on the ceremony grounds.

In the case of Botwe, the assault happened when he attempted to take photographs of President John Dramani Mahama— as he exchanged pleasantries with some dignitaries at the event.

Dzatse, on the other hand, was ordered to move behind the security markings, but in an attempt to explain that he was already behind the markings, the military officer hit his head with his baton and violently pushed him to the ground, destroying his camera in the process.

The two, however, were treated and discharged from hospital that same day.

The MFWA condemns this brutish assault on the two photojournalists, who were only performing their journalistic duties.

The MFWA, however, welcomes the government's condemnation of the incident and demands that the government fulfil its promise of "ensuring that an appropriate action is taken on the matter," as declared by Mahama Ayariga, the Minister of Information and Media Relations.

The state-owned Daily Graphic reported the Information Minister as saying that the government had ordered the Ministry of Defence to, "as a matter of urgency, conduct investigations and bring the culprits to book."

The MFWA joins the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in calling on the Military High Command and the Ministry of Defence to immediately bring the perpetrators of the act to book.

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