Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The New York-based press freedom body, Committee to Protect Jouranlists (CPJ), on Monday said ''Togolese authorities should ensure that security forces allow journalists to do their jobs'' and that officers involved in ''acts of abuse of journalists are held to account.''
''We are writing to express our alarm that Togolese security forces have been implicated in acts of intimidation and obstruction of journalists reporting on public protests in the capital, Lomé, in recent weeks,'' CPJ said in a letter to the Togolese government which was obtained here by PANA Tuesday.
The press freedom body called for investigation of such cases, arguing that ''if unpunished, these acts could undermine Togo's image''.
According to CPJ, three cases involving some photo journalists have been documented since March.
The three -- Koffi Djidonou Frédéric Attipou, Noël Kokou Tadegnon and Didier Alli -- were said to have been assaulted and obstructed for filming the dispersal of protest marches.
CPJ said the cases were brought to government's attention several times.
''We are encouraged by the public measures you have taken in the case of Tadegnon who reports for Reuters news agency, Vox Africa, and Deutsche Welle.''
Security forces knocked Tadegnon unconscious after he filmed the violent dispersal of a protest march on 27 April.
A senior government official was said to have publicly condemned the ''attitude of the four security officers who displayed violence that could have been avoided."
CPJ commended the official's reaction and the fact that the journalists' confiscated cameras were returned.
However, the press freedom body maintained that the official had an opportunity to do more ''to show that your office will not tolerate abuse or lack of discipline among security officers.''
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 15May2012