SLAJ Commends all Deployed Journalists Covering June 24 Elections

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

President of Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla has commended all media houses and journalists deployed to cover the June 24 general elections across the country for doing their work professionally and impartially.

He was speaking at a press conference held at SLAJ headquarters on Campbell Street in Freetown on Monday, 26th June 2023.

According to the SLAJ President, “The conduct of journalists and media houses on polling day so far is encouraging, professional and impartial”.

He maintained that it is worthy to note that the Coordinator of the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG), Dr. Francis Sowa also hailed the media for its professional performance on polling day.

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla added that, “we have received complaints from the leadership of the Independent Radio Network (IRN) about a broadcast by Justice Radio FM accusing the platform of holding secret meetings with the main opposition Presidential Candidate, Dr. Samura Kamara to ensure that the platform announces results from Polling Stations that are favourable to the candidate and his party.

The SLAJ President continued that the radio station further called on the Sierra Leone Police to stop the platform from announcing provincial results from polling stations, and urged the public to stop listening to the platform.

According to the SLAJ President, there were no reported incidents of threats or attacks/assaults against journalists or media houses on polling day across the country.

He lamented that, however, a group of journalists (including foreign journalists) were trapped at the All People’s Congress headquarters on Old Railway Line, Brookfields, Freetown, on Sunday 25th June 2023, while covering the party’s Press Conference during which the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) fired tear gas to disperse the crowd of supporters that had gathered in and around the building.

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla said after receiving distress calls from the journalists and their media houses, SLAJ contacted the SLP and requested their intervention to get colleagues out of the building adding that the SLP Regional Commander, Freetown West, Sylvester Koroma, ensured the journalists were escorted out of the building unhurt.

He said, nevertheless, SLAJ received complaint from one of the journalists, Ibrahim Alusine Kamara, Managing Editor of Salone Compass newspaper, alleging that his vehicle, which he used to drive to the APC office for the press conference, was vandalized by security officials.

The President said that in as much as Social Media continues to be a concern for the spread of disinformation, fake news, hate speech and political propaganda, especially during the elections they condemn the rampant spread of dis/misinformation of elections results from sources that do not have the authority to do so reiterating that it is only the Elections Commission of Sierra Leone that has that constitutional authority.

He said meanwhile, SLAJ recognizes the efforts by the IRN platform of radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers in covering the elections in a professional and impartial way amidst difficult circumstances.

“We also recognize the great work by our team of Fact-checkers working on the UNDP I-Verify platform and the NDI Super News Room for timely fact-checking of problematic content around the elections and helping the public to have access to accurate and factual information,” he acknowledged and urged journalists to continue to perform their roles responsibly, professionally and impartially.”


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