Togo: Journalists Rally to Protect Free Press

Journalists in the West African country of Togo rallied in the streets of capital Lomé [fr] to protest against the threats that their colleagues received recently.  The rally was launched on August 3, by the association ‘SOS Journalistes en Danger’ (SOS Journalists in Danger).

The week prior to the event, several media professionals in the association warned against threats sent to a group of Togolese journalists that were believed to be “critical of the power in place.”

According to Ferdinand Ayité, the president of the association, the threats originated from the ANR, the National Intelligence Agency. The details of the threats, are reported on Fabbi Kouassi ‘s blog:

..aimed at physically harming the journalists, specifically via faked accidents, poisoning and made-up stories.

According to leaders of the association, the threats were later confirmed by an anonymous letter, presumably written by an agent of the ANR and addressed to the journalists who already were targeted on July 21.

The rally was supported by human rights advocacy group, unions, some political parties and various local newpapers.

In a joint statement, the UJIT (Union of Independent Journalists of Togo), the CONAPP (National Council of Press Writers) and the OTM (Togolese Media Observatory) have called upon CNDH, the National Comission for Human Rights, to open an investigation on the matter and encourage their threatened colleagues to go to court so that light can be shed on the issue.

Print media in Togo via Godwin Afedo.

On Togoforum, a review of the past events [fr] details the timeline of the issue and the procedure that the association followed:

The leaders of the UJIT, CONAPP and OTM met with:
-The Minister of Communication and the Minister of Security on July 27
– The President of the HAAC on July 29
– The President of the CNDH, the Minister of the Communication ( for a second time) the Minister of the Human Rights, Democracy Consolidation, and Civil Formation and the Director of Communication for the Office of the President of Togo.

[..] During these conversations, the leaders expressed their worries regarding the threats aimed at their colleagues and invited the authority to commit and do more for the protection of all journalists

The objective of the rally was to denounce the clear abuse against the freedom of press. They intend to organize more rallies in the coming days to ensure the protection of free press in Togo. In addition to this issue, the ANR has been implicated in a wave of other human rights violations.

Written by Sylvio Combey · Translated by Lova Rakotomalala

Re-published from GlobalVoices under the Creative Commons License.

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One comment on “Togo: Journalists Rally to Protect Free Press
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