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SLAJ condemns school’s attack on journalists in Pujehun

SLAJ condemns school’s attack on journalists in Pujehun

Freetown: The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is seriously troubled by reports of an attack against staff of Radio Wanjei in the southern district of Pujehun, by the principal, staff and pupils of St.Stephen’s Technical and Vocational Secondary School in Gobaru. It followed a radio programme critical of the  method of admission of pupils to the school. 

“Such an act by school authorities who should set a bright example for society illustrates how the lack of action by the law enforcement agencies against those who attack journalists can have dire consequences,” says SLAJ President Umaru Fofana, adding that the journalists were simply acting in the interest of the public especially the parents and even the children.  The SLAJ President says the allegations made against the school must be investigated as much as the attackers of the journalists must be punished. 

In a letter of complaint to SLAJ, Station Manager of Radio Wanjei, Melvin Rogers reported that he and three of his staff were physically attacked by teachers and pupils of the school on Friday 11 November 2011, in the presence of the principal, Mr Emmanuel Gbonda following a visit to the school to discuss the content of the report. 

‘’Upon reaching the [school] building, … three teachers in the presence of their Principal…asked us in a very rude manner [and] with insults that we were not invited to their campus and that we should leave or else they would order the school pupils to beat and march us out of the campus” Mr Rogers said in his complaint. After hearing this the students pounced on them and started throwing missiles at them including sticks and stones. He said they abused them, threw invectives at their parents, booed and stoned them resulting in the breaking of his car windscreen with registration number AFD 292. 

A formal complaint has been made at the Pujehun Police Station. 

SLAJ views as unfortunate, repressive and retrogressive this act by the school administration and holds them squarely responsible. We urge the police to  look into the matter speedily and bring to justice those who feel they can take the law into their own hand.

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