August 31, 2015
Following the Press Release issued by the Independent Media Commission (IMC) suspending the “Monologue program” broadcast on Citizen Radio and Eagle FM, and also The Democrat Newspaper, the executive of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) notes that the Press Release did not state any provisions in the IMC Act under which they took the decision ‘to suspend while investigating’ the Monologue program.
SLAJ frowns at this decision and is concerned that such procedure is an inappropriate precedent, which must not be condoned.
SLAJ therefore calls for a reversal of this decision forthwith and for the IMC to proceed speedily with a proper investigation.
SLAJ reserves the right to take any action should the IMC proceed in maintaining what can only be described as an illegal act.
SLAJ is also concerned that the IMC is setting up an Ad Hoc committee to investigate issues, which the IMC Act empowers ONLY the Commissioners to do.
SLAJ believes there is no provision for setting up an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate complaints against a media institution.
“I wonder whether the IMC is saying, in its present composition, it is not competent to investigate complaints against media institutions,” asked SLAJ President Kelvin Lewis.
SLAJ also notes with concern the alleged unprecedented action of the Editor of The Democrat Newspaper, as contained in the IMC Press Release. SLAJ however urges the IMC to state a time limit on suspension of the Newspaper. An indefinite suspension is not supported by any provision in the IMC Act and also goes against the basic principles of natural justice as related to livelihoods.