Speaking at an earlier press conference the Chairman of Independent Media Commission said 19 media houses were brought before the Complaints Committee and that 3 of the complaints were thrown out because they lacked evidence. He added that a few other media houses were warned by the Complaints Committee.
But according to Sallieu Tejan Jalloh the decision taken by the IMC to suspend his newspaper is unfair, citing that there was no direct complaint from a member of the public against his newspaper but that the IMC just picked on an issue that was brought to them by the Monitoring Unit of the IMC.
He added that, his newspaper has made an advance payment on his fine but that he would be challenging the decision of the IMC, adding that the Commission failed to fine and suspend pro-government news outlets.
He maintained that the IMC only fines and suspends critical newspapers like his as a result of complains brought against his newspaper by the Independent Media Committee Monitoring Unit.
“The Independent Media Commission is acting as a referee and player at the same time and in the rule of natural justice you cannot act as referee and player at the same time,” he said, adding that Section 34 of the Act is explicit on how fines and suspensions are carried out.
He went on to say that the IMC took a decision to suspend his newspaper because he has been critical of the government and disclosed that his newspaper likes to publish critical stories, adding that the IMC is not comfortable, the reason they want to silence dissenting voices.
He stated that his newspaper was fined because of his story about the frequent travels of the president and another story that is not related to Sierra Leone.