Journalists protest exclusion from AU summit venue

Accra- Ghana (PANA) – Journalists covering the 9th- ordinary summit of the AU in Accra, Ghana have lodged a protest with the organisers after security agents barred media practitioners from covering the opening ceremony at the Conference Centre Sunday.
The petition was signed by most of the over 600 journalists accredited to cover the summit, billed as the grand debate on the union government in Africa.
"There is no need filing any report on this summit if we are going to be restricted to this hut (the media centre)," said J.
Boohene, a journalist based in England, as she marched through the media centre rallying support for the protest.
"I have travelled thousands of kilometres to cover this event, my fingerprint has been taken and a badge issued, only to be barred from the venue," she complained.
Security has been unusually tight at the venue, with armed soldiers and policemen posted to strategic locations in the spacious and newly-refurbished conference centre.
Journalists have been particular hit by the extra security measures, as they were barred from entering even the lobby of the venue, where they could interact with delegates.
Only photographers were taken inside the venue in batches during the opening ceremony, which is usually open to the media.
"We are only interviewing ourselves, we have no access to the delegates," another journalist complained.
"We had a much better working atmosphere in Banjul," he said, in reference to last year's AU summit in the Gambian capital.
Meanwhile, Ghana's Foreign Minister Nana Akufo-Addo, had appealed to the media to bear with the hosts as they tried to balance the provision of security for the 40 Heads of State and governments attending the venue with the need to allow journalists to carry out their work.

01 يوليو 2007 11:35:00

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