SLAJ Condemns Online Attacks Against Thomas Dixon & Alie Badara

Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ).jpg

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In a Press Release dated 6th June 2024 and signed by its National Secretary General, Alhaji Manika Kamara, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) lamented that it is deeply concerned about recent online attacks against journalist, Thomas Josephus Dixon, especially from Anthony Vandy writing on social media. It further disclosed how the journalist also reported receiving threatening SMS and WhatsApp messages from unknown mobile phone numbers.

SLAJ affirmed that Dixon, the Editor of Salone Times Newspaper, is an outspoken socio-political commentator and a vociferous critic of public officials he believes are abusing their offices. The Association also stated that recent online attacks and threats emanated from his Facebook post accusing the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Maada Bio, of being arrogant.

“These continuous online attacks on journalists for merely expressing their views and opinions on public officials and national issues are unwarranted. Democracy and good governance thrive on the right of citizens (including journalists) to freely express themselves. We are seeing a consistent pattern of fanatic and overzealous political supporters attacking journalists and political commentators whose publications they disagree with. We urge politicians and public officials to admonish their supporters to refrain from such undemocratic and ill-motivated endeavor,” said the President of SLAJ, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla.

SLAJ further revealed how it has also received a complaint from the former Secretary of SLAJ in the Southern Region, Alie Badara, of receiving death threats and threats to burn his house allegedly from supporters loyal to the leadership of the Sierra Leone Police in the Southern Region.

According to the pressure group, Dixon and Badara have been advised to officially report their cases to the police, while the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) has been officially informed about the alleged attacks.

SLAJ said it believes that the safety and well-being of journalists must be safeguarded, both online and offline adding that no journalist should fear for their life or face intimidation simply for doing their job. It urged the authorities to take swift and decisive action to investigate the threats and hold to account those responsible.

The Association affirmed that it stands in solidarity with Dixon and Badara and all journalists in Sierra Leone who face threats, intimidation, harassment and attacks for their commitment to speaking truth to power and public accountability.

SLAJ concluded by maintaining that it is committed to defending press freedom and ensuring journalists can carry out their critical work without fear of reprisal.


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