Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The New York-based global press freedom watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Wednesday condemned the Ivorian police's assault on a journalist, Cybèle Athangba.
CPJ said in a statement made available to PANA here that Athangba, a reporter with the daily ''La Nouvelle'', was attacked while covering a protest of about 100 police officers in front of the police headquarters in the economic capital, Abidjan.
"We condemn this attack on Athangba and call on Ivorian authorities to take all necessary steps to bring the officers to account," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita.
Athangba was said to be among three journalists who were interviewing police officers protesting the alleged embezzlement of funds that had been deducted from their salaries since 2006 to pay for their housing.
It was further revealed that an officer talking to the protesters attacked Athangba after noticing she was using a voice recorder to record the conversation.
CPJ said as the journalist tried to resist the attack, another officer grabbed her from behind and tore the collar of her dress.
Her voice recorder was also said to have been seized during the struggle, but was later retrieved by protesters.
CPJ said when it contacted Ivorian police spokesman Gerard Gnawa for comment, he laughed over the matter and then said the case was being looked into.
"Attacks on journalists are no laughing matter," Keita said.
The Director General of the Ivorian national police was said to have formally apologized to the journalist and said she had been mistaken for a spy for the police protesters.
-0- PANA MLJ/SEG 13June2012