Court matter between Patrick Jaiah Kamara and Herbert Williams

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Winifred Hannah Koroma

June 22, 2018

Not Politically Motivated: We have been privy to frivolous claims made by some members of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) that the matter between Patrick Jaiah Kamara of Concord Times Communications and former Mayor of the Freetown City Council Herbert George Williams and Co. is politically motivated. We want to unambiguously state that the ongoing matter has no political influence and therefore not politically motivated.

Editorial Policy: Our Editorial Mandate is independence and impartiality in the newsstand. We therefore find the said claim very much bizarre and unfounded. May we state that there is a clear disconnect between Concord Times Communications and any other registered political party, including the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

Private Company: Concord Times is a registered company under the 2009 Companies Act with no obligation to any political party or government.

Since its establishment, Concord Times has upheld and still continues to uphold the tenets of credibility and balance as core values of its reportage.

We have maintained that values over the years and the records are there to testify. During the 2012 elections, Concord Times Communications was applauded for maintaining neutrality and balance by no less an institution than the European Union Election Observer Mission in Sierra Leone.

Justice and Impunity:  What many may have failed to understand is that we are fighting impunity against journalists, and that course should not be linked to any political motivation. We cannot pick up a fight for any political party because we only owe obligation to the public.

Patrick Jaiah Kamara was lawfully performing his duty on March 31 when he was assaulted and mercilessly beaten by the former Mayor and his colleague gangs of the APC. In that regard, one would not expect us to sit by and allow them to get away with it. Impunity against Journalists must stop!

There have been cases where journalists have been charged to court and denied bail on their first appearance in court, but that never happened to the former mayor. So, where is the political connotation in this case? Herbert Williams was granted bail on the day he made his maiden appearance before Magistrate Santigie Bangura at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No 1. Had it been a politically motivated matter, he would probably have been denied bail and sent to prison as it happened to others during the previous regime.

Society Watchdog: Our sacred role, without prejudice, is to unearth ills in society for national development. Aside from our social responsibility of holding the powers that be to account on behalf of the public, our duty also is to protect the interest of our reporters and fight any impunity meted against them by any individual or groups of individuals, including those in governance.

No Political Witch Hunt: We want to make it crystal clear that fighting for justice does not in any way constitute political witch-hunting, as alleged. Our interest remains to be the people of this country and we would continue to uphold that standard as long as we continue to exist.

All we want to say here is that we are ready to fight to the finish and bring an end to impunity against innocent journalists who perform their sacred duty in line with professional ethics.

In conclusion: Journalists are not enemies of the state and it is the responsibility of all to protect them in their line of duty.