SLAJ & Human Rights Defenders Condemn Threats against Journalist- Amadu Lamrana Bah

As Govt. Operatives Attempt to Silence Dissenting Views…

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

What has been described as a calculated move by certain Government operatives to heavily crackdown on dissenting voices attempting to hold State functionaries accountable for certain actions has been frowned upon by certain pressure groups and rights based organizations.

Concerns have been raised into the recent escalating threats, insults, intimidation, and attacks against an esteemed journalist, Amadu Lamrana Bah, of the Africa Young Voices (AYV) medium said to be emanating predominantly from individuals purportedly aligned with the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and Government personnel.

The threats and online attacks made against Amadu Lamrana Bah is said to have stemmed from his persistent questioning of the opportunity costs associated with the frequent international travels of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, as well as scrutinizing the President’s acquisition of a Maybach Benz Jeep, juxtaposing such against the backdrop of growing hardships faced by ordinary Sierra Leoneans.

As the threats that came in the wake of his expressed views escalates he has so far voiced concerns for his personal safety and security with evidences of the threats presented to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ).

In a recent press release dated April 4th, 2024, The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) expressed deep concern over the issue.

“Freedom of the Press is a fundamental pillar of democracy and any endeavor to silence journalists through intimidation, threats, or harassment strikes at the core of this basic human right and undermines our democracy’s essence. It is imperative that we rally behind journalists like Lamrana and vehemently condemn these reprehensible actions,” remarked SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla.

According to SLAJ the safety of journalists, both online and offline, must be ensured and no journalist should be subjected to fear or intimidation for simply carrying out their duties. The organization also called upon the authorities to promptly investigate those threats and hold the perpetrators accountable.

The organization further said in a show of solidarity it stands with Amadu Lamrana Bah and all journalists in Sierra Leone facing similar threats, intimidation, and attacks for their unwavering commitment to truth and transparency adding that it is reiterating its dedication to defending Press Freedom and ensuring journalists can fulfill their crucial roles without fear of reprisal.

Another organization that has expressed its stance on the issue is the Human Rights Defenders Network Sierra Leone (HRDN-SL), which in a Public Statement, dated 5th April, 2024 and signed by its Executive Secretary said it strongly denounces the deliberate and calculated threats and online attacks directed at journalist Amadu Lamrana Bah.

HRDN-SL continued that such reprehensible actions not only violate the principles of Press Freedom but also infringe upon the fundamental rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups, and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The organization furthered that in accordance with the UN Declaration, which defines a human rights defender as anyone advocating for the promotion and protection of human rights, HRDN-SL underscores the critical role played by journalists, among others, in safeguarding those rights. It added that the recent wave of threats and online/offline assaults against Amadu Lamrana Bah occurred while he was exercising his right to criticize Government entities, as outlined in Article 8(2) of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

With an outright condemnation of the ugly development, the HRDN-SL, urged the Government to leverage its membership in the UN Security Council not only to advocate for fundamental freedoms but also to ensure the full realization of fundamental rights and liberties saying it reiterates its commitment to defending human rights defenders and promoting a society where these rights are respected and protected.

Amadu Lamrana Bah, honored in March 2024 as “Journalist of the Year 2023” by SLAJ, has long been an advocate for truth and accountability, fearlessly holding public figures to task regardless of political affiliations.


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