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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

How free are Journalists in Sierra Leone?
By New People (Sierra Leone) Editorial Board
May 14, 2009, 18:24
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Journalists in Sierra Leone joined colleagues the world over to celebrate World Press Day, followed by a prayer on Friday and a mass at the St. Anthony Catholic Church for those who passed away while in active practice.


President of SLAJ Umaru Fofanah

The journalists and journalism have gone through turbulent times in the history of this country.

Sierra Leoneans including journalists themselves continue to ask the question how free is Press freedom? in this country.

Journalists in the past have faced molestations while in due execution of their professional duties. Others have suffered incarceration because they stood for what is right.

Successive Governments have looked at the press as an anti to their oppressive and depressive rules, and as such, police raids; seditious charges were high up on them.

A case in point is the brutal and unwarranted death of Harry Yansaneh; a thing that is still fresh in the minds of journalists.

News reported by Journalists that bears wrong doings of politicians are referred to as negative writings. What they always fail to understand is blaming people who call attention to the problems of administrative difficulties of government does more good than the harm they always contemplate.

It must be noted that journalists are bound by their profession to cater for the stories their readers are likely to read. De-emphasizing of reportage of bad news (to the journalist-exclusive stories) for one day may demonstrate that their readers would not receive an accurate and complete picture of the world around. Should journalist practice deliberate selectivity of stories every day and tried to shield or shelve the realties, the blame will extremely reflect on their profession.

Blaming, jailing, beating and castigating the press because they write issues bordering on society, be they good or bad, sounds absurd and ridiculous.

Take the era of out gone SLPP rule. Good number of journalists suffered beating and molestation while others found themselves behind bars.

Then came the APC, and in two years of governance, have followed footsteps of their opponent (SLPP) in beating, molesting and arresting of journalists.

History has in its record books that the biggest contributors in the fight for democracy in this country are the journalists.

Would it surprise all that the head of Attitudinal Change, Philip Conteh, molested journalists who peacefully, were at his residence to do coverage on High Court Fifae orders?


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