From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

We Do Not “Negotiate” for Space with Anyone!
By The Awareness Times Editorial Board
Aug 25, 2010, 17:08

The lead article of yesterday’s edition of a certain local tabloid alleged that one Ghanaian United Nations diplomat caught in a messy love situation was seen at the Awareness Times offices "negotiating for space" in our newspaper so he could air his own side of some unfortunate allegations published in that local tabloid. The implication of the use of the word ‘negotiating’ implies that this newspaper was involved in some sort of monetary dealings with the said Ghanaian to sell space to him. That implication, we consider to be a very serious allegation given the facts of the matter under review. So, in order to clear the air, we wish to categorically state the following:

1. It is pretty obvious that persons living out of this country fall hook, line and sinker for everything they read in certain online Sierra Leone tabloids without realising that some of these tabloids have no ethics and non-existent scruples which make these tabloids unhesitant about publishing unchecked, untrue allegations; sometimes for a fee.

2. In light of the above, it is important for this newspaper’s Editorial Board to set certain facts straight as it beats our imagination that a notable personality in the Diaspora, a retired United Nations employee for that matter, from whom much is expected, can actually pen down an op-ed stating that he automatically believes anything he reads in certain online tabloids. This, we consider to be a big shame on this notable personality!

3. Let it be known that contrary to the said tabloid’s allegations, the Ghanaian in question, has never darkened the doors of any of the offices operated by the Awareness Times Newspaper, let alone negotiated with anyone here for space for a rebuttal. No-one at this newspaper office has even set eyes on the said Ghanaian in person. We repeat: NO-ONE AT AWARENESS TIMES HAS EVER MET THIS GENTLEMAN LET ALONE "NEGOTIATED" WITH HIM!!

4. The Ghanaian’s Rebuttal which was published in several local tabloids yesterday was sent to us by courier just as it was sent to loads of other newspapers who indeed went on to publish it BUT when it was brought to the attention of our Editorial Board, we refused to publish it without first hearing the side of the lady in question so we tried to contact her for her own side and held on to any publication on the issue until we could get her own side. We have still not been able to get her side and so we have not touched the issue.

5. It is therefore extremely unfortunate for the local tabloid to make an allegation that this newspaper was engaged in "negotiating" with the Ghanaian diplomat as we are now pretty well known as not being pliable to monetary inducements from anyone when we publish. We listen to all sides, come to a conclusion and then we publish but ensuring that all sides are adequately aired in the process.

6. Having set the above facts straight, we hope, probably in vain, that the tabloid that made the allegation against us, will do the honourable thing and publish a retraction of the following words they published yesterday:

"...the 39-year-old victim of the diplomat is contemplating taking the matter to the Office of the Ombudsman. While she is thinking in that direction, Mr. Emmanuel Tofosie was seen at the office of the Awareness Times Newspaper, negotiating for a space for the story to be retracted in today’s edition of the paper."

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