The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), has urged the relevant authorities including the security sector to ensure all forms of protection for Journalists before, during and after the 2023 elections.
President of SLAJ, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla said a complaint was received by the Association from the Management of Fountain of Peace Radio in Moyamba district, Southern Region, of an alleged attack and assault of the Station Manager, Alie Tokowa whilst on duty by supporters of a certain leading political party.
The SLAJ president said according to the victim, he was invited by one of the aspirants for the Moyamba District Council chairmanship to provide Outdoor Broadcast (OB) for him.
He continued that upon arrival, he was allowed to enter the party office and observed the event, during which argument started among supporters of both aspirants.
“Soon after, fighting broke out and they started throwing stones at each other,” President Nasralla quoted the victim. He said the victim explained that during the fighting, some supporters were recording the incident with their mobile phones, which gave him the confidence to also follow suit so that he would have evidence if the need arises.
He said it was at the point that the victim was spotted taking the video and he was beaten up.
The SLAJ president said the Association condemns the alleged attack on the journalist and called on the local authorities to protect journalists and their media houses from intimidation, threats and attacks by politicians and members of the public who feel aggrieved about their work.
SLAJ called on the Police to impartially investigate the matter and bring to book the alleged perpetrators.
“This alleged incident is a sign of things to come during this election. Local authorities and political parties and their supporters must respect and protect journalists covering every stage of the elections and ensure their safety and security at all times. We also urge media houses to have measures in place for the personal safety of their workers before they send them out to cover elections activities,” said SLAJ President, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla.