West Africa: MFWA, National Partners Petition Sierra Leonean Government to End Trial of Journalist

press release

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has called on the Sierra Leonean Government to end the prosecution of Fayia Amara Fayia, a journalist with the Standard Times newspaper who is being prosecuted in connection with his work.

The call was made on April 12, 2021, in a petition jointly signed by the MFWA and its partner organisation the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) as well as the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ).

In a sad case of a victim turned accused, Fayia was brutalised by military personnel on April 2, 2020, while on COVID-19 coverage duties in the town of Kenema, hospitalised under police custody, subsequently detained for three days, and finally arraigned before court. He was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, and obstructing security officers' duties.

The petition addressed to Minister of Information Mohamed Rahman Swaray, cited the long, tiresome proceedings amidst several adjournments, the financial cost of the trial, and its disruptive impact on the work and education of the journalist who also pursuing further studies at the University.

The petitioners cited the recent repeal of criminal libel in Sierra Leone and subsequent discontinuation of criminal defamation proceedings against a publisher, Sylvia Blyden Olayinka, as encouraging gestures from the government.

"In the spirit of this conciliatory gesture that President Julius Maada Bio's Administration has made towards the media, we humbly urge, you, Honourable Minister, to intervene to end the prosecution of journalist Fayia Amara Fayia," the petitioners pleaded.

Click here to read the petition.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

X