Sierra Leone’s journalists condemn spread of hate messages on social media

Amin Kef Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 September 2020:

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), in a press statement issued last Friday 28 August, 2020, signed by its Secretary General –  Mohamed Asmieu Bah, says that it is concerned about the proliferation of videos, audios, and voice notes with incendiary messages on social media which have the potential to divide the nation and cause unrest. (Photo above: President of SLAJ, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla).

The statement also says that while SLAJ will at all times stand to defend the fundamental human right of all citizens to free speech as an essential element of our democracy, however, “citizen journalists”, political enthusiasts and members of the public who have been abusing social media should know that this right is not absolute.

“Freedom of speech is like a kitchen knife. When you take it out of the kitchen for other purposes like stabbing, then it becomes harmful to the victim and to self,” said President of SLAJ, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla.

According to the statement, SLAJ is calling on all media houses not to allow their platforms to be used as conduits for the dissemination of incendiary messages, fake news and disinformation. It also calls on all journalists and other citizens not to share any such messages.

SLAJ is appealing to the leaderships of all political parties, political activists and citizens in general to condemn and desist from making and spreading expressions in every shape or form that promote hate and division among Sierra Leoneans.

“It’s not just the responsibility of the Government of Sierra Leone to maintain and promote law and order, and peace and stability in the country. It’s equally the responsibility of all political parties, democratic institutions and citizens,” added Nasralla.

“The Government must work with the leaderships of all political parties and other stakeholders to look at the root causes of this dangerous trend and make genuine and honest efforts to address them collectively,” he concluded.

4 Comments

  1. I cannot say any further than what Abraham Amadu Jalloh has said. Well said brother. As I have always maintained President Bio has missed an opportunity!…For partisan loyalty has never been a suprise to all of us. We are only suprised today because those whose jobs are to speak up when they see reality have all gone MUTED!..

  2. Thank you so much Mr. Amin K. Sesay for your brilliant advise to this patriotic nation and the people of Sierra Leone. Spreading hate, doesn’t pay, first of all you will always be an unhappy man. This gentleman is already your President whether you accept it or not. It was destined before you were created. Why would you always frustrate yourself for something that God already destined? Bio is a no nonsense President. He’s a devoted Christian, and was chosen to lead. I just love him with all my heart, because of his generous service to this country Sierra Leone. Now H.E. has a new nick name – “PRESIDENT TALK AND DO” I love that.

    This president has been characterized with so many stuff even before he was elected to office. Tejan Kabba was quiet after leaving office, EBK was having all opportunity to govern, my question is, why is EBK still hanging on to power when he’s no longer a president? I believe that APC will come back to power after 2044, we have to punish them, so that they can realize their mistakes. God bless Sierra Leone, and it’s leaders.

  3. “The Government must work with the leaderships of all political parties and other stakeholders to look at the root causes of this dangerous trend and make genuine and honest efforts to address them collectively,”

    Mr. Nasralla, the solution to your concerns as well as all peace loving Sierra Leoneans rest on the above statement which apparently comes from you. If we are to take into account Newton’s 3rd law of motion, ‘ for every action in nature (force), there must be an equal opposite reaction’, clearly there are underlying reasons why we have suddenly observe a proliferation of hate speech via social media in our nation.

    The government of the day bears the sole responsibility to ensure genuine steps are taken devoid of any political inclination to address the current impasses. To do so, the government must not view those expressing their concerns via unconventional ways as enemy combatant, on the contrary, the government must call them to the table for dialogue. Until then, I am afraid where next our nation is heading to.

  4. Well if SLAJ are being honest brokers and doing their jobs in the media landscape, by exposing the way our country is being misgoverned. I do not think you will have issued this statement. What about the arrest and detention of brave journalists like Dr Bylden, only to be thrown under the bus by your organisation, and left to battle president Bio and his over-jealous supporters, including the private militia we call the Sierra Leone police. In the process she is left fighting for her life in the courts, without your active campaign for her and many other journalists that suffered the same fate or even worse. Under your leadership, press freedom in Sierra Leone is in a state of flux and found wanting.

    I will say it is a bit rich coming from you. We citizens and journalists will take no lectures from you about the inciters of violence in the country. Where were you when Hon ABU ABU made his threats to the youth of Makeni? Did your members publish any acticle reminding the residents minister for Northern province, that as a public official his words matters more than thousands on line key borad warriors . Where were you after the Pademba Road riots and deaths, Makeni, Lunsar, Tombo, attacks on Kono Hon. Sam Samuna, in his uncle’s funeral. How bad can it get, even the dead is not spared our political differences. And above all eles the president importing lexicon like Terrorist, never heard of in the history of Sierra-leone. Was there a condemnation of his statement. No I wouldn’t think so.

    Because president Bio have you where he wants you to be. In other words to be his cheerleader. Maybe if you do not know job descriptoin, some of us that are victims of the RUF wars will never sit back and watch in horror as our country is driven to the brink. No more should we allow drugged up youths asking an innocent farmer or pregnant woman, whose only crime happens to be a Sierra Leonean, as the rebel excecutioner asks you the dreaded questions “LONG SLEEVES OR SHORT SLEEVES” or more sadistic crimes committed against Sierra Leonean women, BOY OR GIRL as they rip open her womb with no care in the world.

    You might have chosen to forget about that part of our dark history. All I will say NEVER AGAIN! Some of you who are sitting on your ivory towers passing judgement on us, should do us a big favour, do your work. We want to take back our country from the clutches of corrupt dictatorship. May God bless Sierra Leone.

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