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Over ‘hate message’ allegation…

Star Line manager faces Parliament

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 By Jariatu Bangura

Manager of Star Line radio FM 98.4 in Kenema, Sidie Yayah Fofanah, last Friday presented three disc cassettes to Members of Parliament after he was summoned by the House to appear before them.

Mr. Fofanah was summoned to appear in Parliament after a motion was moved by the beleaguered Minority Leader, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, who said the radio had propagated “hate messages” against some lawmakers in that part of the country.

During the hearing, Majority Leader Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu cited some sections of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, the Independent Media Commission (IMC) Act of 2006 and IMC Media Code of Ethics, which he said media practitioners and citizens should abide by when airing and publishing stories on certain individuals.

He said Section 13 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone stipulates that citizens should abide by the constitution, respect its ideals and its institutions, the National Flag, National Anthem and the authorities and offices established or constituted under the constitution or any law; as well as to cultivate a sense of nationalism and patriotism so that loyalty to the state overrides sectional, ethnic, tribal or other loyalties.

The station manager was then requested to present three CD recordings of the said hate broadcasts which the lawmakers promised to listen to and scrutinise the content to decide whether Hon. Lahai’s claim of “hate message” was credible.

Fofanah, who was given special dispensation by the head of police in the eastern province to travel out of Kenema, which has been locked down since 7 August, denied the charges of propagating “hate messages”.

He was given morale support by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists.

According to the association’s scribe, Moses Kargbo, the country’s lawmakers should rather not pick-up an unnecessary fight with journalists at this moment when the country is grappling with the deadliest Ebola outbreak in the world, which has killed more than 500 people.

Mr. Kargbo likened the move to the controversial ban imposed on the good governance programme, Monologue, by Cabinet, and said such would strain the cordial working relationship between lawmakers and journalists.

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