Guinea: Politician assaults show host during live broadcast

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is dismayed by the assault on journalist Ahmed Camara of Radio Espace by a former Member of Parliament and demands appropriate sanctions against the perpetrator who disrupted a live broadcast.

On June 15, 2022, ex-MP Aboubacar Soumah, who’s currently the president of the political party Guinee pour la Démocratie et l’Equité (GDE), was a guest in the studio of Radio Espace FM based in Conakry during the highly popular socio-political discussion programme “Les Grandes Gueules”.

Camara, a co-host of the programme, alleged that the ex-MP was one of the politicians who supported former President Alpha Conde’s eventually successful push for a third term in office.  After a vehement denial by the politician, the producer of the programme played an audio in which he (the politician) was heard endorsing the controversial third term agenda.

“I think that if the situation of the country remains at this level of cacophony, of political ethnicization, even if it is a fourth term that is needed or even a tenth term that is needed for our current leaders to harmonize, to pacify, to unite Guineans, I, Aboubacar Soumah, am for it,” the politician was heard saying in the audio.

“This is the proof that you supported the third mandate,” said Ahmed Camara, after the audio was played.

Embarrassed by the evidence, Soumah began shouting and protesting that his words had been taken out of context. Before Camara could challenge his claim, his grumpy guest pounced on him. He grabbed the journalist by the collar, damaging his shirt in the process. The timely intervention of the journalists present in the studio saved Camara from further assault by the politician who was later escorted out of the studio. The altercation disrupted the programme for about five minutes.

Meanwhile, a complaint has been lodged against Aboubacar Soumah at the Tribunal at Mafanco. The Public Prosecutor of the Mafanco tribunal located in the municipality where Radio Espace FM is based has ordered the police officers to arrest the politician.

The MFWA welcomes the prompt reaction of the authorities, and we strongly urge them not to let this aggression be forgotten.  They must ensure that the perpetrator of this attack is punished in order to deter further press freedom violations.

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