• June 20, 2023

 INDEPENDENT MEDIA COMMISSION Press Release

 INDEPENDENT MEDIA COMMISSION  Press Release
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        INDEPENDENT MEDIA COMMISSION

                                                                                                                             3rd Floor, Kissy House

                                                                                                                             54 Siaka Stevens Street

                                                                                                                             Freetown

E-mail: info@imc.gov.sl                                                                                  076-724-854/076-695-950

www.imc.gov.sl                                                                                      

Press Release

Freetown 19th June, 2023: The Independent Media Commission Rules on the matter between Rev. Smart Kelson Senesie, Executive Director, Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) and Public Review Newspaper, in connection with the newspaper publications of 28th April 2023, titled “Autospect-Breach of Contract…Money ‘chop chop’ Among Board and Management at SLRSA” and 15th May, 2023 titled “Smart Senesie Ruins SLRSA”.

Three hearings were conducted on the matter. Public Review Newspaper was absent for the first hearing with an excuse that the Managing Editor was out of Freetown; but during the second hearing, the newspaper was represented by Mustapha Ezekiel Dumbuya, Copy Editor.

Findings:

Having concluded the hearings, rhe Commission notes that the publications were not balanced because the journalist failed to cross-check the stories with the complainant. Though Mustapha Ezekiel Dumbuya, Copy Editor of Public Review Newspaper conducted an interview to get the other side of the story, the Commission proved that he obtained interview with the wrong individual (Deputy Director of Autospect) instead of Rev. Smart Senesie who was the one mentioned in the articles. The Commission therefore notes that the publications were in breach of the Accuracy provision of the Print and Electronic Media Regulations 2022.

The Commission further notes that the Newspaper went to the extent of stating that “the high spate of corruption going on at SLRSA with millions of Leones allegedly finding ways into pockets is blamed squarely on the shoulders of the Executive Director”. The Commission found out that the allegation was not substantiated and was only aimed at smearing the character and reputation of the complainant.

RULING:

The Commission rules as follows:

  1. That the Newspaper publishes a retraction of both publications with equal prominence immediately upon receipt of this ruling;
  2. That a fine of Le10,000 be imposed on Public Review Newspaper in line with Section 19 (1) of the Print and Electronic Media Regulations 2022; and
  3. That the fine is payable within 30 days upon receipt of this ruling.

Signed

Khalil Kallon

Executive Secretary—IMC

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