The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), has issued out a press release reacting to New Vision’s Friday August 17th 2007 publication with the banner headline ‘UNDP GIFT RAISES QUESTIONS’.
The release states that the publication alleged that the recent cameras/recorders donated to SLAJ by the UNDP were distributed by the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, to only media houses that are sympathetic to the All People Congress Party naming the African Champion, New Citizen, Citizen Radio, Awoko and SLAJ Pen Magazine.
The release maintained “to state categorically that SLAJ is a non-political organization that seeks to improve the quality of Journalism in Sierra Leone and protect the welfare of all media practitioners and therefore cannot be in alliance with any political party or parties.”
The release continued, “this report, in the New Vision of August 17 2007, we must state, is totally baseless, unfounded and misleading and must, therefore, be disregarded.”
It noted further that “Such unpatriotic, unprofessional and irresponsible journalism, is not only aimed at undermining the credibility of SLAJ but also aimed at tarnishing the hard-won reputation of the President of SLAJ, IB Kargbo.”
It must be noted, the report states “that SLAJ is a credible organization that seeks the welfare of journalism as well as journalists without discrimination.”
“As a transparent and accountable organization the alleged donation was distributed as follows: Exclusive Newspaper, Independent Observer, the News Newspaper
Spark Newspaper, Sierra News, the Spectator Newspaper, Awoko Newspaper, PEEP Magazine, African Standard, For Di People, SLAJ Secretariat, Radio Bintumani, Kabala Radio, Radio Mankneh Makeni, Eastern Radio Kiss 104, Radio Maria, Makeni FM 98.1, SKYY Radio106.6, Radio Mount Aureol, Radio Gbafth, Radio Kolenten, Radio Mattru Jong, Radio Tombo, SLBS Makeni, Radio Kalleone, and Citizen Radio.
“From this distribution list, it is clearly evident that the New Vision publication of August 17th 2007 is not only mischievous but blatantly inciting in both intent and content. There is no way any rational thinking person can label all the media institutions named above as recipients of the UNDP gift as sympathizers of the APC,” the statement continued.
Moreover, according to the statement, “we made it clear that the UNDP-donated items were not enough to go round all media houses and that those media houses that have not benefited from this consignment would receive first priority in the next.”