…As he shows partisan & ethical bias
April 4, 2016 By Casper Hsu (Bournemouth University intern)
It is not often the case that a professional journalist attending a presser will, instead of asking pertinent question, elect to ‘admonish’ a colleague who has just asked a critical question.
Abdul Sam Sesay, a reporter at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), did the unimaginable last Thursday, flouting ethical values he may have learned in journalism school, by ‘admonishing’ an intern journalist working with Concord Times, who is pursuing his Masters in Multimedia Journalism at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom.
AL Mansaray was told-off by Sesay for simply seeking a response from government spokesman Ajibu Jalloh at a press conference in Youyi building, regarding allegations made by an opposition party chairman, Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, who had claimed that he was physically assaulted at Parliament building by ‘APC thugs’.
When the SLBC reporter took the microphone, he inexplicably aimed his patently partisan and unethical jibe at his colleague journalist instead of asking a question.
“This is an observation…of course, I only wish to admonish my colleague who is saying to us here that he comes from the UK, and he is partnering with Concord Times.
“Now with regards to the question that he posed about the alleged assault on Mohamed Kamarainba, you see we should stop playing the cat and rope. The point at issue is that we are all journalists,” Sesay said to the bemusement of even the government spokesman.
“What I want to admonish my colleague is that Sierra Leone is operating under the rule of law and if in that pretext, Mohamed Kamarainba is alleging that he was publically assaulted in the precinct of Parliament, it is good that he takes his matter to where it belongs.
“Because, as I’m saying, we are journalists; it might go thus far but I want us to know, or in order words, my colleague there from the UK, he might go back with a report for the UK that even journalists here informed him that whatever public assault claimed by Mohamed Kamarainba, let him go through the law, that is very much appropriate, that is my observation, I thank you,” he added rather incoherently.
As is traditional in press conferences, reporters are allowed to ask a question after introductions.
Mansaray was the first reporter to ask a question and started immediately by asking his question, but spokesman Jalloh asked him to identify himself and the media outlet he represents.
“AL Mansaray. I’m currently with Concord Times. I’m just here for two-and-half weeks,” Mansaray said.
“You say you’re here for two-and-half weeks. What happens after two-and-half weeks?” the government spokesman queried.
“We going back…we going back to….the UK,” Mansaray answered.
“In Kono? What? Oh, UK,” the spokesman said, listening in-between Mansaray’s previous answer.
Acting Concord Times editor, Abu-Bakarr Sheriff, described the incident as “an unfortunate low by a patently partisan journalist who dropped an ethical clanger, hence bringing the state broadcaster and journalism into blatant disrepute.” He also urged Mansaray to ignore Sesay and any of his ilk, who have arrogated to themselves the role of unofficial government mouthpiece.
Mansaray is currently on an editorial internship at Concord Times newspaper for two-and-half weeks.