FROM THE DESK OF THE PUBLISHER
Awareness Times Newspaper
24 Garrison Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone. Tel: 077-772001
Revd Terrence Knox-Goba
Independent Media Commission
Siaka Stevens Street, Freetown.
Thursday 16th July 2015.
Dear Reverend Knox-Goba,
RE: SYLVIA BLYDEN TO PAY LE500,000 FOR ‘DODGING’ IMC COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE
I write to bring to your attention both my conversation with Lawyer Allieu Kanu, the Chairman of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) at the Lungi International Airport last evening as well as the front page headline of today’s edition of the Independent Observer Newspaper.
As readily confirmed to me last evening, Lawyer Kanu recalls that in the special meeting between Awareness Times and IMC last month, I formally requested for a complaint by Independent Observer to be kindly called for Tuesday June 30th 2015 as I had been invited by His Excellency President Koroma to attend the UN High Level meeting on Ebola as a member of his Sierra Leone delegation. I informed IMC that I will be leaving the country on Sunday 5th July and will be back “before 20th July”.
Chairman Kanu in the presence of other IMC Commissioners, then lamented that they could not call the complaint up for June 30th as that date was already jam packed with other complaints. He then asked if someone else at Awareness Times could defend the complaint. I drew the esteemed Commissioners’ attention that the complaint was specifically against me as the author and that I personally, was very, very, very eager to defend the complaint.
Chairman Kanu in presence of the other Commissioners, requested that you as Executive Secretary set that particular complaint against Awareness Times to be heard “any time after 20th July”.
I flew out of Sierra Leone on 5th July and I returned last evening of 15th July 2015. I met Chairman Kanu at the airport as he was travelling on the same Brussels flight which brought me in. He informed me that IMC had made a mistake of calling up the complaint on 14th July in my absence. He assured that since it was totally an administrative error of IMC, to have created such oversight, I had no blame. He asked me to contact you this morning and work to have a new date set up.
To my utmost surprise this morning, I have seen my name as the banner headline in Independent Observer claiming I “dodged” their complaint on Tuesday 14th July and so I am supposedly fined Le500,000.
Furthermore on my desk this morning amongst my unopened letters received during my absence, is a letter dated Sunday 5th July 2015 (This is strange as the IMC does not work on Sundays) inviting me to the 14th July hearing. Needless to say I only opened that letter today. It was signed ON YOUR BEHALF but certainly not by you. Signature seems to be by someone named KAMARA.
I trust with the above information, steps will be taken to speedily clarify this matter now in the public domain especially as after our last month meeting, the Awareness Times and the IMC are back on a good footing. Last month was the first meeting in three years between this newspaper and the IMC Commissioners and it ended with revamped mutual respect that we on this side will do all possible to maintain. The currently configured IMC deserves all possible respect and support and Awareness Times will do all in our power to ensure the IMC enjoys that support and respect.
Finally, I request that you please kindly extend my very best sentiments of high regards to the Chairman & Members of the Complaints Committee. I hold the Chairman and her Complaints Committee in high esteem.
Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
CC: Chairman, IMC.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.