Journalists attacked in run-up to presidential election in Madagascar

Madagascar press freedom elections presidential

A dozen journalists have been attacked by police or President Rajoelina’s supporters during demonstrations in Madagascar in the past few weeks in the run-up to the first round of a presidential election on 16 November in which Rajoelina is seeking another term. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the authorities to do everything possible to ensure that journalists can work freely and in complete safety.

Nine journalists were injured when a gendarme projected teargas and stun grenades at the feet of reporters who were covering an opposition demonstration in the capital, Antananarivo, on 4 November. Three weeks before that, on 13 October, journalists were verbally aggressed by Rajoelina supporters during a pro-Rajoelina rally.

It is unacceptable for the security forces or political activists to attack journalists. We condemn these attacks and call on the Madagascan authorities to conduct impartial and independent investigations without delay with the aim of identifying and prosecuting those responsible for the violence against journalists. The authorities must also guarantee the physical safety of reporters and respect for media freedom before, during and after the election.

Sadibou Marong
Director of RSF’s sub-Saharan Africa bureau

Leg and hip injuries

Those injured on 4 November included two video reporters working for privately-owned TV channels: Real TV’s Leonardjo Andriamparany and Dream’in’s Dolph Rakotoniaina. They sustained leg and hip injuries when a grenade exploded at their feet.

Finoana Razafijaonimanana, a reporter for Fréquence Plus, a privately-owned radio station, was slightly injured in the leg by shrapnel from a stun grenade while she was filming the opposition demonstration. RSF has viewed some of the video footage, which shows a gendarme deliberately kicking the grenade towards the journalists.

Tokinirina Rafalimanana, a reporter for the daily newspaper Tia Tanindrazana, was covering the pro-Rajoelina rally on 13 October when his phone was snatched out of his hands. Kolo TV reporter Gaëtan Andriatsilavohery and Real TV reporter Mickaella Andrianjaka were verbally attacked the same day. Presumed Rajoelina supporters were responsible, according to the information gathered by RSF.

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