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Shekito wants press freedom stifled!!

Shekito wants press freedom stifled!!

“…and also educate all of us on the misinterpretation of some sections of the Act (IMC).”

“I would like to draw your attention to section 4 (1&2) which deals with the composition of Commissioners, and which has apparently been misconstrued or misinterpreted by our colleagues in the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists.”

Quotes as stated above represent words of the Deputy Minister of Information, Sheka Tarawalie aka Shekito as he delivers his speech at the opening of the just concluded three day workshop by the Independent Media Commission on the review and propose amendment of laws as in the IMC act 2000.

To a considerable number of media practitioners, utterances of the Deputy Minister of Information depicts government’s planned up methods to stifle journalists’ right to freedom of expression.

According to Sheka Tarawalie, section 4 (1) which reads as: “the Commission shall consist of a chairman and ten other members, all of whom shall be appointed by the President acting on the advice of SLAJ and subject to the approval of Parliament,” has been ceaselessly violated by journalists time and again.

Sections of media practitioners regrettably dishonor comments of Sheka Tarawalie on grounds associating accusation that government is bent on manipulating upcoming appointments of IMC Commissioners to their favour.

“How can a state minister shamelessly misinterpret laws, which by itself, explains rights of journalists and that of government on issues concerning appointments of Commissioners at the IMC?” disappointed journalists ask.

“Section 4 (1) is not in any way suggesting that SLAJ should nominate people to serve on the Commission; the power to nominate is purely the prerogative of His Excellency the President, subject to Parliamentary approval,” words of the Deputy Information Minister Sheka Tarawalie.

It could be recalled that the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), on number of times, has nominated people to serve as Commissioners at the IMC.

It is a fact that the Deputy Minister of Information is conscious of the reality that the IMC act makes clear that SLAJ has the responsibility of selecting names for Presidential appointment of Commissioners to the IMC.

Just last week, Sheka Tarawalie who was one of four panelists at the SLBC ‘Inside the media’ programme, told Sierra Leoneans that SLAJ, by whatever standards, have no right to nominate persons to serve as commissioners at the IMC.

He inconsiderately and insistently goes against SLAJ’s unavoidable rights in the selection of persons to serve as IMC Commissioners as mentioned in the act.

It is shaming though that Sheka Tarawalie keeps away from the true and legal meaning of what section 4 (1) of the IMC act says.

Random survey condemns statements of the Deputy Information Minister, and respectfully calls on government to discontinue plans to swindle rights of journalists on issues bordering press freedom.

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