Guinea: Trade Unionists Brutalise Journalists

On October 22, 2016, four reporters of Espace FM Fouta covering a scuffle between two rival road transport unions, were beaten by the unionists.

Narrating their ordeal, Alpha Ousmane Bah, one of the assaulted reporters said he and his colleagues Abdoulaye Sadjio Diallo, Mohamed Samoura and Alpha Boubacar Kessema Diallo received news of a scuffle between two union groups; CNTG and USTG at a bus terminal in Labe, some 450 km from the capital Conakry. The two union groups were said to be fighting over the control of the terminal.

“Having got wind of the conflict, we went to cover it, only for the unionists to pounce on us, destroying our recorders, cameras and note pads,” Bah said.

According to Bah one of the unionists even called for his car to be set on fire. “We had to run to safety to avoid the worst from the mob which hurled insults and issued death threats against us,” Bah added.

The Executive Council of the private broadcasters’ union, Union des Radiodiffusions et Télévisions Libres de Guinée has condemned the attack on the journalists and called for the protection of the safety of journalists.

This is the second time in recent times that trade unionists have assaulted journalists. In April, 2015, some unionists assaulted journalists who were covering a disagreement between factions of the Nigerian Trade Union Congress (TUC). The unionists threw bottles at the journalists and severely beat up Oloyede Oyegbenle, a cameraman at Channels TV. They also seized his camera.

The MFWA equally condemns the attack and death threats against the four journalists. We call on the Guinean police to investigate the matter and ensure that the perpetrators of the attack on the journalists are punished. We also urge management of Radio Espace Fouta to take up the matter with authorities concerned to ensure justice and protection for the affected journalists.

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