- Togolese radio journalists have launched a solidarity strike to protest the grave assaults on two colleagues by state security forces. During the last week, the Lomé-based 'Nana FM' has only plaid music in protest against Togo's harsh media environment.
Journalists Yves Kpéto, with the 'Nana FM' radio station, and K Amouzouvi, of the weekly newspaper 'Le Combat du people' newspaper, were on Friday, 30 April, physically assaulted by state security forces at the Université de Lomé campus.
The two were covering a demonstration by students of the university to press for better work and living conditions when they were stopped by security forces, according to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)-Togo. Mr Kpéto and Mr Amouzouvi were said to have sustained "severe bruises all over their bodies."
While attacks on the Togolese media are common, the popular radio station decided to take action after this grave incident. Since Monday 5 May, staff of the 'Nana FM' radio station have gone on strike to protest the assault on their colleague, Yves Kpéto, by state security forces.
Sources speking to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)-Togo reported that the staff of 'Nana FM' have since the morning of 5 May been playing only music on the station, "to sympathise with their colleague, and draw attention to the frequent, arbitrary use of force by state security agents against journalists and the media in Togo."
The MFWA today appealed to the government of Togolese President Gnassingbé Eyadéma to "demonstrate a tolerance for media freedom and ensure that state security forces respect the rights of journalists in Togo."
Togo has emerged of Africa's most repressive countries as regards press freedom. During the last few years, the confiscation of newspapers has become standard practice and many journalists have been physically assaulted or paid a visit to the cells of Lomé prison. Torture reports are also common from the West African dictatorship.
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