SLAJ to mark week long World Press Freedom Day activities
Freetown: The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), in collaboration with the United Nations cultural organisation (UNESCO) will be organising week long events in observance of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) on 3rd May, 2012.
SLAJ will observe this day to magnify its significance in bringing attention to the plight journalists go through while carrying out their trade and to underline the need for media freedom and the general freedom of expression.
Even though journalists in the country enjoy relative freedom, SLAJ believes the retention of the criminal and seditious libel law makes a mockery of democracy in the country. We call for its immediate repeal.
“At a time like this when Sierra Leonean journalists seem to be endangered, we will use the opportunity to discuss the repressive laws inhibiting media freedom and highlight those institutions and individuals who have either sanctioned or condoned the killing, beating and harassing of journalists” SLAJ President, Umaru Fofana says.
To mark the week, SLAJ has themed this year’s celebration in the country as “Press Freedom and the protection of Journalists”. We therefore call on the police to be serious in the search for those who killed journalist Ibrahim Foday while he was on duty. “We are disappointed that since he was killed in June last year, the police seem to be allowing the matter to die,” Fofana says, vowing that the matter will always remain on the fore until justice is done. He also lamented that police have refused to make available the full names of two presidential bodyguards who beat up four journalists at the national stadium thereby stalling court action against them.
Meanwhile, the following activities have been lined up to mark the celebrations:
- Tuesday May 1: Start of a 2-day workshop on the country’s media laws
- Wednesday May 2: Continuation of media workshop
- Thursday May 3 (World Press Freedom Day): National Procession in Freetown, Bo, Makeni, Kenema followed by a Public Lecture in Freetown
- Friday May 4: Muslim Thanksgiving at Amdallah Mosque in Freetown and others mosques in Bo, Makeni and Kenema
- Saturday May 5: More radio discussion programmes
- Sunday May 6, Christian Thanksgiving at St. Anthony Church
SLAJ wishes the fullest cooperation of all its members to make this year’s World Press Freedom Day a success and memorable one.
Long Live SLAJ!
Long live Media Freedom.
By Ismael Koroma, National Secretary General
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