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SLAJ commends Speaker, cautions Parliament

SLAJ commends Speaker, cautions Parliament

FreetownThe Sierra Leone Association of Journalists wishes to congratulate the Speaker of Parliament, Hon Justice Abel Stronge for upholding the truth and encouraging the Editor of The New Storm newspaper to go on and continue doing his job. The association however cautions parliament in dealing with issues relating to the media.

It followed a letter the editor, Ahmed Bob Kanneh had received yesterday from the Clerk of Parliament to answer today to a front page story of the 19 October 2010 titled: “For lateness, Speaker warns Defence Minister”.

The story had correctly reported that the Speaker warned ministers and heads of department to take national issues seriously and not appear before the House late whenever they are called upon. Defence Minister, Major (Rtd) Pallo Conteh was among the latecomers that the Speaker warned.

In the lawn of Parliament today, Justice Stronge asked the defence minister if he was late on the day in question to which he answered in the affirmative. He then told the journalist to “go about your business”.

“We hope this serves as lesson to those public officials who think they can intimidate journalists or use their offices to suppress a free press and deny the people’s right to know” SLAJ President, Umaru Fofana who was in Parliament, said. He however cautioned that in future such a matter would be referred to the Independent Media Commission which is charged, by law, with the responsibility to regulate the media. Fofana encouraged The New Storm editor and staff to not feel intimated for as long as they respect the dictates of the journalism profession. “No public official is above scrutiny” he says.

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