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When Sierra Leone's Independent Journalists Expose their Back-Sides as SLPP Propagandists
By APC We Yone Press Newspaper
Oct 26, 2011, 17:10
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Who doesnt know aspects of the independent investigative panel report into the Bo incident were cooked-up to deliberately rope the APC in sharing the blame for the violence perpetuated by the opposition SLPP in retaliation for the alleged stoning of Julius Maada Bio which resulted in wounding, arson and death? Except those who are oblivious of the political colouration of some of those who constitute the panel, including the chairman Kelvin Lewis; even at that, flipping through the pages an independent mind can read in between the lines of the panels report a deliberate intention to rope in the APC, perhaps to deliberately create a balance as outweighing evidence abound of the treachery perpetuated by the SLPP.


Certain members of the panel did the dirty job by criminally inserting portions in the report whilst deliberately refusing to visit a victim of SLPPs brutality, the APCs Madam Zainab Mansaray while she languished at Connaught hospital.


We Yone reluctantly did not do a public post-mortem of the report because the editorial team, and even the rank and file of the party, are of the conviction the effort was a good one: a precedent intended to put an end to political violence which invariably has been a political alternative of the SLPP since it was first defeated in democratic elections by the APC in 1967. Moreover, the recommendations contained in the report have engendered a judicial process and for this reason We Yone will not want to make any comment in relation to the findings and recommendations contained therein and the evidences at hand that will make cross examinations intriguing and thrilling.


Nonetheless, well meaning Sierra Leoneans and members of the APC bemoan the habit of certain so-called independent journalists who are political crusaders in disguise using the independent media as propaganda outlet for the opposition SLPP. Flipping through the pages of so called independent newspapers on a daily basis one can see the painstaking effort of independent journalists who are presumably on the pay-roll of the SLPP to paint a negative picture of the APC and cause a stir within the rank and file. Sensational headlines, distorted facts, concoctions and innuendoes are what are found on the pages of these so-called independent newspapers and by extension some so called independent radio stations.


A senior citizen called on We Yone to inquire why such negativisms are left to pass-off without recourse to any action. The simple reason is that We Yone, knowing the petty-mindedness of some of these so-called political journalists basking under the umbrella of independent newspapers, has better things to concentrate on than allowing itself to be dragged into a press war as it is the case between these journalists on the pay roll of the SLPP on one hand and some truly independent newspaper/journalists on the other hand.


When the Global Times in its attempt to soil the reputation of this government maliciously wrote deceivingly that a member of the Presidential body guard had been arrested in relation to the stoning of Julius Maada Bio, this pro-SLPP tabloid and key factor in the SLPP media alliance resorted to a press war against the Awareness Times and its proprietor Dr. Sylvia Blyden for simply correcting their false report.


This SLPP media alliance also deceivingly wrote and even caused to the broadcasted over BBC a news report that a presidential body guard had beaten journalist Mohamed Farjah Barrie at the national stadium during the match between Sierra Leone and Niger when the fact is it was a group of journalists of which Farjah Barrie was among who wrongly accused the well dressed gentleman to be thief and instead of handing him over to the Police as civilize people do they started beating him thus exposing him to the dire consequences of mob justice.


When his colleagues noticed the scene they quickly intervene to prevent what would probably have been the death of the young gentleman and it was while the gentleman was struggling to defend himself from the assault that Farjah Barrie was injured.


Journalists in the SLPP alliance promptly made a mountain out this incident spiting the government in all sort of ways in an attempt to again soil the governments reputation as not having intimidated, arrested or jailed a journalist since it was elected in 2007; an ugly experience of the SLPPs two-term governance still fresh in some of our memories.


To justify their intention was simply to damage the reputation of the government, the question why the matter has died so soon without any further bashing or questioning from the SLPP media alliance needs as answer.


The editor of  We Yone, in briefing members of staff on the outcome of a lunch with the ERSG recently, says Winston Ojukutu Macauley thinks the matter has died a natural death. He seems very much frustrated and disappointed not realizing, perhaps pretending to be oblivious, the clue to the answer owes it root in the questionable integrity of some of our colleagues and their use of the independent media to promote political interest and not serving the purpose as true watch-dogs of society.


Shouldnt Kelvin Lewis, Umaru Fofana, Jonathan Leigh, Sorie Fofana, Sheik Bawoh and their likes be of help to Winston Ojukutu Macualey in unravelling the mystery behind the natural death of an issue that surrounds the security and safety of a colleague? Yes the matter has been killed by the very journalists who trumpeted it in both the international and local media.


There is a perception among some journalists that Mohamed Farjah Barrie is currently in the United States of America and is using the incident backed by copies and recordings of the outrageous media reports to seek asylum as a means of gaining permanent residence in the USA. One wonders whether these journalists in the SLPP media alliance are unaware Mohamed Farjah Barrie is currently in the USA and is in the process of seeking asylum? If they are, it shows how low they have sunk their integrities and the bottom of the gutter they have dragged this noble profession.



If they are not, is SLAJ simply complacent that a colleague was allegedly beaten and the matter dies a natural death or is the association part of Farjah Barries game plan to seek asylum in the US? Well, this may not come as a surprise to right thinking journalists who are still struggling with the disbelief that SLAJ failed to come to the rescue of two journalists who were beaten and robbed by bodyguards of Julius Maada Bio not too long ago inspite of their loud cries, and that from politicians to businessmen anybody can pay a price for a story to be aired or published. Little wonder FM98.1 aka Radio Democracy demonstrated just that over the weekend?



The management of FM98.1 refused to grant Mohamed Bangura the right reply or to be heard in a programme in which serious allegations were being made not only against his person and integrity but also against the person and integrity of the President on the flimsy excuse the programme is a paid-for programme by the opposition SLPP.



Is the so-called professional journalists at 98.1 telling right thinking media practitioners and the public that any Jack and Jill who pays for a programme has the right to make all sort of aspersions against somebody else and the individual does not have a right to say his own part in the said programme? Well, again this doesnt come as a surprise. Who doesnt know 98.1 has simply transformed itself to a publicity outlet for the opposition SLPP? By its name, Radio Democracy should be seen to be creating a level playing field for all stakeholders in the news or issue being discussed. And above all, if Mohamed Bangura is to seek legal redress for perceived damages done to his reputation the station would also be liable.



The same applies to Global Times Sorie Fofana who has in recent times embarked on a systemic trail of calumny aimed at sowing discord in the rank and file of the APC and between the APC and Konos. Yesterdays front page: Back Me Or I Back Out VP Sam Sumana, was not only terrifying but deliberately aimed at misleading the public to believe the statement was actually made by the Vice President and at throwing spanners into the good relationship between President Koroma and VP Sam Sumana.



If it is not deliberate, it means our brothers in the Global times have problems using quotation marks and are oblivious of the interpretations of its uses in a sentence. The headline indicates a direct quote but the article turned out to be an opinionated commentary; as a media guide, the guys at Global Times should be extremely careful in using quotation marks when writing opinion pieces. But God knows it is deliberate and of course these guys and their cronies on the pay-roll of the SLPP have clearly exposed their back-side as political cronies in the guise of independent journalists using the noble profession of journalism as a conduit to promote their political objectives and interests.



A visiting media analyst once told We Yone certain so-called independent newspapers are more political than even the political party newspapers! One wonders why these people continue to hide under the cloak of being independent journalists instead of picking up a job at SLPPs Unity newspaper or PMDCs Positive Change; certainly they are not needed in We Yone.



The pains the APC continue to suffer is that once these so-called independent journalists cause reckless damage to the integrity and reputation of the party and its government they do not make retractions even after they have been proved wrong. Can someone explain why Global Times is yet to retract a recent claim of a sour relationship between the First Lady Sia Koroma and the wife of Vice President Sam-Sumana? Can someone explain why the Global Times deliberately misled the public to believe the UN is investigating the APC when the facts remain clear New York is investigating itself?



Can someone tell me why Theo Nicols AYV magazine is yet to retract the negative assertions against the APC contained in its Friday October 14th 2011 edition? Can someone explain why the chairman of the independent investigation panel Kelvin Lewis has refused to comment on why the panel did not visit Zainab Mansaray, victim of SLPPs calculated mayhem while she was hospitalized at Connaught hospital during the course of their investigation? Can someone explain why Kelvin Lewis refused to talk to the Awareness when the paper detected the report was flawed? This list goes on and on and on!



Only they that have been mentioned can best provide these answers but what is undisputable in the minds of right thinking Sierra Leoneans is that these so called independent journalists are an adjunct of the SLPP propaganda machinery and as such their reportage is determined by how much damage it will cause to the APC and not how balanced, impartial, accurate and fair it is. 



While it remains that man by nature is a political animal, journalism as a noble profession demands fairness, objectivity and impartiality in educating, entertaining and informing the public but it seem political affiliation has eroded the virtues of good journalism expected to be practiced by the independent media. Indeed certain independent newspapers are extensions of the opposition SLPP propaganda outlet.


Before resting may case, let me draw the attention of the organizers of the programme inside the media which comes up on both SLBC radio and television on Saturday mornings that their regular panellists are not the best media brains in this country. They are certainly not the best analysts this country can boast of having. What is incredibly shocking is the fact that these questionable politicians parading as independent journalists on a routine basis seem to be the only participants in the programme. The SLBC as a public broadcaster should give other journalists the opportunity of participating in the programme and not the same faces and voices all the time.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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