SLPP CONDEMNS ACTS AGAINST JOURNALISTS
Freetown – March 2, 2010. The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) held the 2010 National Party Conference in Bo from February 26 to 28, 2010. The Conference was attended by delegates and observers from constituencies, districts, regional and national executives as well as Parliament and Diaspora branches. Members of the fourth estate were also invited to cover the opening session.
On Day II of the Conference, the Chairman announced that the afternoon session was closed. Unfortunately, some members of the Press stayed in the hall while the debate was in progress. We erroneously failed to insist that they should leave.
At a point, a fracas ensued when some pressmen attempted to record and take photographs of the proceedings. Some of our members frowned at this and as a result, there was a scuffle between some of our marshals and a pressman. Other pressmen intervened to protect their colleague. In the process, some pressmen lost personal items, most of which were recovered and returned to them.
Realising the seriousness of the situation, the meeting was briefly adjourned and senior Party members including the National Chairman and Deputy had a special meeting with the press. The Party condemned the act, expressed regret for the unfortunate incident and promised to fully compensate the victims.
The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) strongly condemns the act. The Party shall be setting up an investigation panel comprising Party members and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ). The Party shall fully implement the findings and recommendations of the Panel.
In the meantime, the party reiterates its profound apology to the victims, SLAJ and the general public for this unfortunate incident. We wish to assure the public that the Sierra Leone Peoples Party remain committed to the principles of democracy, human rights and press freedom and will do everything to uphold these principles in future.
We also wish to take this opportunity to express our thanks and appreciation to our membership for their commitment, the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) for providing security, and the All Peoples Congress (APC) and Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) for honouring our invitation.
Jacob Jusu Saffa