By Amin Kef-Ranger
This news medium learnt on the 6th July 2022 that the Executive of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ ) on Tuesday, 5th July 2022, held a meeting with the Clerk of Parliament, Hon Umarr Paran Tarawally, in his office at Parliament Building on the alleged assault of journalist, Abdulai Gbla, by a Member of Parliament, Hon. Abdul Muniru Lansana.
Led by its President, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, the SLAJ Executive, took the opportunity to also engage the Hon Clerk on the long-standing issue of the Sierra Leone Parliamentary Press Gallery (SLPPG). The meeting was also attended by Abdulai Gbla.
The Clerk started by acknowledging receipt of the letter from SLAJ requesting Parliament to investigate the alleged assault and take appropriate action.
Hon. Tarawally further apologized to Gbla on behalf of the Speaker and Parliament for what he described as ‘the unfortunate incident’ of 28th June 2022, and noted that his apology was based on the fact that the alleged incident was widely reported on social media rather than an outcome of an investigation.
He revealed that the Speaker has engaged him on the issue and requested him to look into the matter, which was why he thought it fit to engage the SLAJ Executive and apologize to Gbla before commencing an investigation.
It was agreed that Parliament will constitute a Committee to investigate the incident and make recommendations. The Committee shall include journalist Abdulai Gbla and a representative from the SLAJ Executive.
The Committee shall conclude their investigation by Friday 15th July 2022 and would decide on the next steps.
It was also agreed that a meeting be held on Friday 27th July 2022 to engage on the issues of the SLPPG Interim Executive, Outgoing Executive, and media accreditation.
The meeting will comprise Parliament, SLAJ, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG), Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU), Sierra Leone Association of Journalists Electoral Commission (SLAJEC), representatives from the Interim and Outgoing SLPPG Executives, and Chairman of the SLPPG Reformation Committee.