Independent Media Commission
6th August 2010
The Independent Media Commission called an Emergency Board Meeting today, Friday 6th August 2010 at which Editors of the Torchlight Newspaper and the Unity Newspaper were summoned to discuss (a) the publication of the Torchlight Newspaper Vol. 2 No.236 of Wednesday 4th August 2010 captioned: ‘They are all Mendes’ and the publication in the Unity Newspaper Vol. 3 No.11 of Friday 6th August, 2010 captioned ‘Limba/Loko Government Eliminates Temnes’ respectively.
The Board asked the two Editors to explain the rationale for publishing such hateful and dangerous articles which have the tendency of creating tribal sentiments and ultimately wrecking the fabrics of our hard won peace.
Mr. Alhassan Spear Kamara, Ag. Editor of the Torchlight Newspaper explained that a University Professor who begs for anonymity gave an interview to him stating that the inordinate thirst for power by the SLPP is almost entirely driven by a tribalistic tendency wherein one tribe, and only that tribe, thinks it and it alone, should rule over the rest of Sierra Leone. He said that at that party’s press briefing everyone present had to be, a Mende and that only a Mende will emerge as a flag bearer of the party.
Mr. B. W. Bockarie told the Board that his article was a reply to the Torchlight publication which he said that Limba/Loko government eliminate Temne adding that the Torchlight article tended to disintegrate the party.
The Board afar listening to the two editors told them that it was very concerned about such publications at this point in time especially when elections were fast approaching.
The two editors have violated Section 25 on page 15 of the IMC Media Code of Practice which states that ‘the press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person’s colour ethnicity sex or individual lifestyle or to any physical or mental illness or disability’.
The Board also reminded the two editors of the policy objectives of the Commission as spelt out in the Media Code of practice. Some of which are:
1. The print media shall carry out its functions in such a way to reflect the ethnicity of development efforts, to protect basic interests of society and to promote the exchange of ideas and information through accurate and balanced reporting as well as informal and objective comments.
The Board strictly warned the two editors that they should desist from such journalism and that if they venture to publish such articles again their papers will be automatically suspended.
The two Editors realising their mistakes apologised to the commission and sincerely promised not to publish any article of such nature in future.
For and on behalf of Acting Chairman and Commissioners