Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Sierra Leone12 September 2002

Media body curbs press freedom

Reporters Without Borders expressed concern today about a worsening of press freedom in Sierra Leone after the closure of an independent newspaper and refusal to give a broadcasting licence to a privately-owned radio station.

"These actions were taken by the Independent Media Commission (IMC), yet this is the body supposed to be protecting freedom of information, not restricting it," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to information minister Septimus Kaikai. "The problems is, the IMC is not independent at all and makes decisions in the interests of the government."

He called on the minister to take all necessary steps to see that licences were granted to all privately-owned stations that requested one and to ensure that the closed newspaper, African Champion, was able to reopen as soon as possible.

(JPEG)

The newspaper, a privately-owned daily, was ordered to close down indefinitely on 31 August by the country’s High Court. Its managing editor, Mohamed D. Koroma, was banned from any "editorial function" in any newspaper in the country.

In March, the IMC had already ordered the paper to close for two months. Koroma responded that he would challenge the legality of the ban and continue bringing out the paper. He was criticised for having published an article headed "Kabbah stinks in dubious deal again," in which he pointed to the corruption of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s son, protected by his father.

At the end of August, the IMC refused an operating licence to West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) for reasons of "national security" and "public safety." The station wanted to broadcast on short-wave nationwide and in other countries of the Mano River Union (Liberia and Guinea). The IMC said Sierra Leone had been destabilised in the past by groups based in these two countries.



In this country
22 May - Sierra Leone
Newspaper publisher is victim of judicial extortion
10 February - Sierra Leone
Four women journalists kidnapped, one subjected to public humiliation, by supporters of female genital mutilation
15 May - Sierra Leone
Letter to information minister about closure of opposition radio station
14 February - Sierra Leone
Journalist prosecuted under repressive law that government had pledged to amend
7 September - Sierra Leone
Dangerous climate of hatred on eve of presidential election run-off

in the annual report
Sierra Leone - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives
archives

reports
18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election
archives

Sign the petitions
Eritrea
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists