Sierra Leone – Cameras and Counter Punches – the ebb and flow of journalism in Sierra Leone
July 28, 2010 Leave a comment
Imagine a career, where you are a wonderful speaker and very eloquent with the language you speak. Now image your first day as a inquisitive and curious journalist and your excitement to cover a story for the first time ever. You have all of your equipment ready, plan laid out to bring the truth to the people and mostly your relaxed because you are in democratic sierra leone THEN the reality sets in as you approach an official for an interview and you get KICKED in the leg and punched in the jaw and all of your items and possessions are stomped on like they are on fire.
What we have just described is the reality of being a journalist in Sierra Leone in terms of not supporting the state completely. If you will notice with the article in the Resources section that the author has no name. That we imagine is done for a reason.
Recently 10 journalists were manhandled and beaten during the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party’s (SLPP) delegate’s conference.
At the conference, the delegates had a disagreement during their debate to amend the party’s constitution.”Some members began to walk out of the hall, we (journalists) wanted to capture this moment and do interviews, but we were surprised when youths and senior party members fell on us. They beat us, confiscated our cameras, recorders and then prevented us from covering some of the other sessions,” explained Ishmael Bayoh, one of the journalists who was attacked. Bayoh works for Awoko newspaper, a local tabloid. [SOURCE]
Now this next portion of the article really surprised us, simply because the guilty party was found and nothing was done at all.
“…in February 2009 four journalists were abducted and intimidated by members of a women’s secret society that practices female genital mutilation (FGM). One of the abducted journalists was forced to walk naked through the streets of the city because they had been conducting a series of interviews in order to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM.” [SOURCE]
What??!!?? They actually abducted the journalists, why did they not abduct the organizer of the whole function, neither action is right but the journalists they were just doing their job as journalists.
In September 2009, the correspondent for Standard Times, Fayia Amara, was beaten up by a police constable for trying to photograph the constable allegedly smoking marijuana.In September 2009, the correspondent for Standard Times, Fayia Amara, was beaten up by a police constable for trying to photograph the constable allegedly smoking marijuana. Another recent incident was the alleged threatening calls received by radio journalist Melvin Rogers (supporting evidence in Melvin Rogers favor), from the Deputy Minister of Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations, Moijue Kaikai
Does anyone other have any friends or colleagues that are journalists that have had altercations with their assignments? We have heard of war reporters being killed but hopefully no one has been killed just conducting a routine assignment…who knows. Do you?