Journalists barred from covering debate on Public Elections Bill


By Jariatu S. Bangura

While other members of the public were allowed unfettered access to the Parliament Building yesterday, police officers manning the gate to the entrance denied journalists entry into the premises, saying that they were told that there was no space at the gallery.

Journalists were there to witness the debate on the Public Elections bill 2022 and the Constitutional amendment bill 2022 which has been in Parliament for more than three weeks.

A certain Local Unit Commander of the Sierra Leone, who was positioned at the main gate, seized the pass provided to Concord Times journalist to cover the Public Elections bill debate on the basis that the pass has been used by another journalist to enter which was not the case.

The said journalist was given the pass to handover to Concord Times ace reporter at the gate by the interim executive PRO, but was prevented by the officer not to handover it.

Also other journalists from the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Democracy and other media houses were around the gate to enter but were not granted access into the building claiming that there was no more space for them to enter.

Despite the intervention of the President of the Interim Executive of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, Vincent Momoh for the police to grant access to the journalists, the LUC and one officer  called Obama of the Parliamentary Security unit at the gate refused.

Mr. Momoh also interfaced with the LUC to return back the press pass to Concord Times reporter, but he refused on the basis that another journalist had used the pass to enter the gallery which was never the case.