Attack and death threats on journalists…

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CHRDI urges political leaders to control supporters

January 24, 2019

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

chrdi
CHRDI boss, Abdul M. Fatoma

The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) has urged political leaders to control their supporters and sympathisers with regards their attitude and behaviour towards, especially journalists and civil society activists.

Abdul M. Fatoma’s caution statement comes in the wake of increased attack and death threats on journalists by allegedly supporters of the All People’s Congress (APC).

On Wednesday 16th January 2019, journalists from the African Young Voices were physically assaulted and their equipment seized allegedly by APC supporters, when they went to cover the interrogation of former President Ernest Bai Koroma in Makeni by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

The attack and death threat were condemned by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and the Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI), among others.

In an interview with Concord Times at his Pademba Road office in Freetown, Mr. Fatoma condemned the act and described it as an attack on civic space and freedom of expression.

“Political leaders and followers have a responsibility to respect the work of journalists and civil society. Day in and day out, journalists are being attacked and receiving death threats,” he said, while reminding journalists of their huge responsibility in disseminating information to the public.

He, however, expressed concern that the seeming silence on the part of the governing classes to condemn such crime will be perceived as a form of endorsement of violence.

He urged the government to protect the lives of all citizens, especially journalists as failure to do so will be seen as an endorsement.

“Journalists play a major part in democratic governance. Unfortunately, government in and government out, journalists are being considered as enemies by politicians. Journalists that were attacked have not done anything wrong to be subjected to the kind of treatment they are getting from politicians and their supporters,” he added.