• April 2, 2023

SLAJ Condemns SLPP Supporters Alleged Attack on FOP Radio Station Manager

SLAJ Condemns SLPP Supporters Alleged Attack on FOP Radio Station Manager
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Friday 31st March 2923

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has received a complaint from the Management of Fountain of Peace Radio in Moyamba District, Southern Region, of an alleged attack and assault of the Station Manager, Mr. Alie Tokowa whiles on duty allegedly by supporters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) on the instruction of the former District Council Chairman Mr. Joseph Gbogba on Tuesday 28th March 2023 at the SLPP party Office in Moyamba District.

According to the victim, he was invited by Mr. Lamboi (one of the aspirants for the Moyamba District Council chairmanship) to provide Outdoor Broadcast (OB) for him while at the SLPP party office. According to him, upon arrival he was allowed to enter the party office and observed the event, during which argument started among supporters of both aspirants.

“Soon after, fighting broke out and they started throwing stones at each other,” Alie explained. He said during the fighting, some supporters of the former District Council Chairman were recording the incident with their mobile phones, which gave him the confidence to also follow suit so that he would have evidence if the need arises.

According to the journalist, the former District Council Chairman spotted him taking the video and instructed his boys, led by Joseph Kamara aka Jokay, to beat him and take his phone from him. He added that over four youth rushed at him and they kicked, slapped and dragged him to the floor inside the party office. He said he was forcefully taken inside a room whilst onlookers were shouting ‘You are killing a journalist!’

He informed SLAJ during a visit at the Connaught hospital, where he is now receiving treatment, that the youths used his head to open one of the doors at the party’s office, which led to him currently experiencing serious pain on his head, neck and other body parts.

Alie is currently responding to treatment at the Trauma Ward 5 Connaught hospital.

However, when contacted by SLAJ, the former District Council Chairman denied the allegations against his person stating that he was not even around when the incident started and that he never instructed anyone to attack or assault the FOP Radio Station Manager. He further described the allegations as fake.

Nevertheless, SLAJ condemns the alleged attack on the FOP Station Manager and calls on the local authorities to protect journalists and their media houses in Moyamba district from intimidation, threats, and attacks by politicians and members of the public who feel aggrieved about their work. SLAJ also calls on the Police to impartially investigate the matter and bring to book the alleged perpetrators.

“This alleged incident is a sign of things to come during this elections. Local authorities and political parties and their supporters must respect and protect journalists covering every stage of the elections and ensure their safety and security at all times. We also urge media houses to have measures in place for the personal safety of their workers before they send them out to cover elections activities,” said SLAJ President, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla.

Meanwhile, SLAJ wishes to continue to inform the public that journalists can be reported for misconduct and unprofessionalism to the SLAJ Disciplinary Committee or the Independent Media Commission (IMC).

Signed:

Alhaji Manika Kamara

National Secretary-General

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