MRCG Calls For Justice For Media Practitioners - Salone Mirror News

Saturday, 18 May 2019

MRCG Calls For Justice For Media Practitioners

The Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) has on Friday May 17, 2019, recommended to the government to ensure justice for the Journalists of the Africa Young Voices (AYV), Augusta Ethel Turay and Alie Kamara who were attacked in Makeni whilst performing their professional duties, as well as the BBC journalist Umaru Fofana who received a death threat.

The Chairman of the MRCG, Dr. Francis Sowa samade this call during the launching of the second series of the Press Freedom Report at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists headquarters in Freetown.

The report documented at least 15 cases from May 2018 to May 2019 - 10 cases in 2018 including five new ones in 2019.

The report which covers from December 2018 - May 2019, is sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in the United States of America under the project titled: Enhancing Press Freedom and Legislative Reforms of Media Laws in Sierra Leone.

The 33-pager report mainly focuses on five thematic areas: arrests and detention of journalists and civil society activists; guarantee of freedom of expression and of the press [constitutional and other legal provisions]; regulating bodies for electronic media, print media and telecommunications; performance of media institutions; status of media laws in Sierra Leone.

According to the report, Journalists should be provided with the enabling environment to do their job without the fair of being intimidated, arrested, harassed or assaulted.

The report also calls on the government to speedily and unconditional repeal the Criminal and Seditious libel provision in part 5 of the Public Order Act of 1965. “Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) should take the lead and be giving the free hand by victims of press freedom, abuse and violation and their media houses in seeking justices on their behalf,” the report stated.

“Journalists should abide by ethical standards in their daily coverage and reportage.”

Giving the five major cases covered within the period under review, he said that arrest and detention of Alpha Thorley of the Night Watch Newspaper by the Sierra Leone Police on January 14, 2019 ,on allegations of publishing false information that several diplomatic passports were illegally given to families of the ruling government officials; attack on two AYV journalists, Augusta Ethel Turay and Alie Kamara on January 16, 2019, allegedly by supporters of the main opposition APC, while they were covering the visit of officials of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to the home of former President Ernest Koroma in Makeni, Bombali district; Death threat against the BBC’s Mr. Umaru Fofana apparently by a member or supporter of the main opposition APC Party in an audio circulated on social media, after an interview he conducted with the former Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh; attack on and intimidation of civil society leaders, including the executive director of Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Madam Marcella Samba-Sesay, who had publicly expressed critical views on the current governance challenges; and the attack on a civil society activist, Morlai Conteh, president of the National Youth Coalition of Sierra Leone allegedly by a group of military officers of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).

He stated that three of the five issues have to do with journalists while two deals with civil society activists, but within the confines of expressing themselves which is within freedom of expression.
He said that they found out that the police had investigated three of the five major matters monitored, even though the matters have not yet being conclusive. “But none of them had been charged to court,” he said.

“The Police said that they were waiting for legal advice from the Attorney General’s Office on the matter of Alpha Thorley. According to the Police, the investigation into the attack on two AYV journalists is reportedly stalled because of lack of cooperation from the victims; and death threat against the BBC’s Umaru Fofana is reported under investigation at CID.”

Dr Sowa said that they also followed on cases that were covered in the first edition. He stated that there were 10 cases covered in the first edition of the press freedom report, adding that five of those cases were concluded by various means, while five of the cases are still not concluded between the period of May last year up till May this year. “So, within the one year period, some of these cases are still pending,” he emphasized. “For example, the outstanding issues last year for which the MRCG is still calling on the government of Sierra Leone to take action are: first, is the attack on the editor of New Age Newspaper.

On the attack on the publisher of the Elephant Newspaper, Nimalty Kamara, allegedly by youth of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) for criticizing the new regime of President Bio, he said although the matter is yet to be concluded, but as of today he can safely report that the matter is currently at the High Court in Kenema. “At lease there is a progress. But we will like to see the outcome of the court’s decision because Nimalty Kamara is claiming that he was attacked as part of his journalistic work,” he said. “But we are happy because there is progress in his matter.”

On the attack on the editor of Awareness Times Newspaper, John Koroma, during a bye-election in Tinko Limba Chiefdom, Kambia district, Northern Sierra Leone, on September 29, 2018, allegedly by a team of police officers and persons openly identifying themselves as SLPP supporters in Tonko Limba, he said that according to the Police, the matter remains the same because they were unable to identify those who attacked him, adding that the police are still investigating the matter.

Arrest of Fayia Amara Fayia of Star Radio and Standard Times Newspaper by CID officers outside the AYV Media Empire on what the CID said was a post on his Facebook page are among the pending cases.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Do You Love The Current Design Of This Blog? We Can Set Up Same Design For You At An Affordable Price.

Click Here Now To Get Started!


Copyright © 2019. Powered by Salone Mirror.