Sierra Leone ALERT:Media warned against publishing incendiary stories

Ambassador Allieu Kanu, chairman of the Sierra Leonean media regulatory body, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), has warned media institutions against publishing and broadcasting incendiary stories relating to the removal of the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Samuel Sam-Suman, on March 17, 2015.

The MFWA’s correspondent in Sierra Leone reported that the IMC chairman made this statement in a release on March 23, 2015, in which Ambassador Kanu told media organisations that while they are at liberty to source and determine their contents without any interference, they must do so within the set standards and ethics of the journalism profession and refrain from inciting violence or public disorder.

“All media practitioners and media houses are implored to strictly adhere to the IMC Act and Media Code of Practice whilst dispensing their duties and ensure that they work within the ambit of the laws of Sierra Leone,” the release said.

The IMC chairman informed all media institutions to remember that they take full responsibility for what they publish and broadcast, pointing out that the IMC takes very seriously any violation of the Media Code of Practice of 2007 and the IMC Act of 2000 (amended in 2006 and 2007).

The press release further states that the IMC hopes that media institutions would serve as a platform for democratic discourse surrounding constitutionalism and development, especially issues regarding the fight against deadly Ebola virus disease.

The MFWA has become increasingly concerned about acts of unprofessionalism in the Sierra Leonean media. Recently, several media organisations have been sanctioned by the IMC for acts of unprofessionalism. On each occasion, the MFWA urged the media to be professional in their conduct and adhere to the IMC’s code of conduct.

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