A journalist whose camera was destroyed when he was physically attacked by a gendarme has been compensated with a new camera.
Aristide Teko Ahatefou, a journalist with the online news website Togo Actualités, was covering an opposition demonstration in Lome on April 25, 2018 when he was assaulted by a gendarme. The assailant, identified as Colonel Kodjo Sana Baoula, allegedly asked Ahatefou to produce documents showing that he was authorised to cover the demonstrations and reportedly rejected the press card presented by the journalist before proceeding to assault him. The reporter’s camera was damaged in the process.
But in a gesture that has been hailed by the media fraternity as a positive, the Togolese Minister of Security and Civil Protection, Yark Damehame, has replaced the damaged camera after the incident was brought to his notice.
The minister had the camera replaced when l’Observatoire Togolais des Medias (OTM), a media self-regulatory organisation, led Ahatefou to his office to formally report the assault to him. He also condemned the assault on the journalist.
The MFWA welcomes the compensation as a step in the right direction and a demonstration of the Minister’s commitment to protecting the safety of journalists in Togo. We wish, however, to urge him to order the security forces to stop attacking journalists. We also appeal to the Minister to ensure that the assailant is punished.