“I was just about to do an Interview on the street, I saw a military vehicle approaching, from a soldier’s exit. You came up to me and said, ‘ You’re the one who makes all these reports about us. We don’t find good at all!” So Ghana Yussif Abdul Ganiyu, DW tells correspondent in Ghana Kumasi. Then he got a blow with truncheon – “out of nowhere, from behind in the nape of the neck”. The blow was fierce, so Ganiyu: “I was for a time completely out of action.”
Ghana: the taboo topic of military violence
The soldiers arrested him and seized briefly in his technical Equipment. Only later Ganiyu learned the reason for the attack: He had reported incorrect facts about military brutality in Ghana. Ganiyu is the head of DW-radio Partners Zuria FM in Kumasi. Three days earlier, the station had published a story and a picture of a 71-year-old man reported that soldiers attacked had been, as the military had conducted an Operation to enforce the Corona curfew. The report was based on victim and witness statements, remembers Ganiyu: “The military had refused to comment on the accusations.” Ganiyu was later released. The incident shows that The Situation for journalists in the country is very tense. Also some reporters want to report on the spread of the Corona Virus, run the risk, to learn how to Ganiyu solid violence. “You do that, to prevent us from our normal work, to intimidate us, so that we write a specific, critical reports,” the conclusion of the transmitter heads.
Guinea-Bissau: private broadcasters under pressure
2000 km further to the North-West Serifo Tawel Camará of similar experiences reported: “I was just about to leave the radio station where I work, and suddenly they were there: men in Uniform. They attacked me, beat me brutally,” said the Journalist at the private radio station Rádio Capital in Guinea-Bissau. The Robbery happened the night of the 24. March in the capital, Bissau. As in most African countries, the state of exception prevails in Guinea-Bissau, officially the Corona-pandemic curbing. Since the 18th century. March are closed, all borders, all flights are suspended until further notice. Umaro Sissoco Embaló, which was declared by the National election Commission as the winner of the presidential elections, imposed a state of emergency in Guinea-Bissau. The freedom of movement is restricted. There is no public transport and the markets are only allowed to be from seven to eleven o’clock in the morning opened. Meetings or demonstrations until further notice, prohibited.
“I’m not the only Journalist in Bissau, the is attacked or put under pressure,” stresses Serifo Tawel Camará. A few days earlier, two other colleagues from Rádio Capital would get a summons from the Prosecutor’s office. A colleague of the transmitter, Cidade FM had suspended its daily program “Bom dia cidade” (“Good Morning city”) only once, after physical violence had been threatened.
“freedom of The press and the right of journalists to exercise their profession, are in very great danger. The freedom of the press must not become the next victim of the Corona pandemic,” says Indira Correia Baldé, President of the Bissau-Guinean journalists ‘ Union SINJOTECS, and announces a sharp Protest with the government, as well as a lawsuit at the Prosecutor’s office.
South Africa: Indiscriminate violence against the people on the road
For ten days in a country, prevails also in South Africa-wide curfew, the spread of the Corona to curb the pandemic. Since then, countless complaints against the police and security forces were filed due to excessive use of force. Azarrah Karrim, news reporter at South African news channel News 24, was one of the first witnesses of the violence: “On 27. In March, the first day of the curfew, I’m here in Johannesburg, in the vicinity of my apartment, on the street,” said Karrim.
“I just wanted to snap the atmosphere on the streets and report. And since I noticed that many police officers were on the street, the people on the streets, hunted, and even rubber bullets you fired.” It gave no Together outpaced demolitions, there are only a few people were on the road, the important errands would have made. She had fled to a nearby Restaurant, as a journalist, Karrim more. “I shouted that I’m from the press, and my press to keep my card down. Only then have you stopped to aim their weapons at me.”
“Authoritarian systems want the facts to suppress”
Similar incidents have been reported from many other countries in Africa. As reported in the press freedom Organisation reporters without borders (RSF), in the Democratic Republic of the Congo police officers had pushed the Reporter Tholi Totali Glody from the transmitter Alfajari TV of a motorcycle, as he wanted to report on the curfew in his province. In Senegal, the Crew of the station Touba TV has been attacked by a policeman with a baton, even though they had a permission of the Prefecture to report on the restrictions. In Uganda, police officers had attacked the Director of the Uganda Radio Network, Julius Ocungi, while he reported on the closure of a Bar. In Ethiopia, two foreign journalists (Tom Gardner, who writes for The Economist and The Guardian, as well as Robbie Corey-Boulet AFP) had been accused of an Internet Troll with over 30,000 followers to be infected with the Virus.
“information is suppressed, you are being manipulated. Critical journalists, citizen journalists, bloggers, are persecuted, they are harassed, they are imprisoned, they will disappear without us knowing where. Foreign correspondent expelled from the country,” says Katja Gloger, a former Board member of reporters without borders. Just authoritarian systems and Dikaturen would now conjure up in times of Corona – pandemic-all sorts of tools “out” to manipulate criticism, transparency and facts to the press or in their interest. So dictatorships would contribute at the end of that the Virus spread in the absence of free and qualified Information of the population.
cooperation: Abdullahi Tanko Bala, Iancuba Dansó
author: Antonio Cascais
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*The contribution of “attacks on Reporter: In Parts of Africa Corona at risk published in crisis, the freedom of the press” is from Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.