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A policeman was arrested yesterday (16 June) as the key suspect in the killing of Ibrahim Foday, a journalist for Exclusive newspaper. Foday was stabbed five days ago in Freetown while covering a riot on a land dispute, the cause of his death was not initially made clear. Sierra Leone journalists are now condemning his murder. The president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Umaru Fofanah, said: “Journalists in Sierra Leone must not continue being the endangered species.”
Ten journalists in Sierra Leone have been assaulted by members of an opposition party during their national conference. The International Federation of Journalists disclosed that supporters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) physically attacked reporters as they were preparing to record the second day of the event in Bo. High ranking members of the SLPP were reported to have seized and stolen the cameras and mobile phones of the journalists present.
Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court has dismissed a case for the repeal of criminal and seditious libel brought by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ). Provisions in the 1965 Public Order Act stipulate prison terms for journalists found guilty of libel and prohibit truth as a defence. SLAJ argues that this undermines freedom of speech as guaranteed in the country’s 1991 constitution. (IPI)
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On 5 March, Silvia Blyden, the publisher of privately owned daily newspaper the Awareness Times, was arrested for allegedly ridiculing President Ernest Bai Koroma.