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SLAJ cautions media houses against incendiary messages

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has cautioned media houses against allowing their platforms to be used as conduits for the dissemination of incendiary messages, fake news and disinformation.

The association’s warning comes in the wake of hate videos, audios and voice notes been shared on social media by some unpatriotic individuals with the aim of causing mayhem in the country.

In a press release issued on Friday August 28, 2020, SLAJ joined other organizations in expressing concerned about the proliferation of videos, audios and voice notes on social media, which have the potential to divide and cause unrest in the country.

President of SLAJ, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla said: “Freedom of speech is like a kitchen knife. When you take it out of the kitchen for other purposes like stabbing, then it becomes harmful to the victim and to yourself.”

While SLAJ will at all times stand to defend the fundamental human right of all citizens to free speech as an essential element of our democracy, the journalism body stated that “citizen journalists”, political enthusiasts and members of the public who have been abusing social media should know that such right is not absolute.

SLAJ also appealed to the leadership of all political parties, political activists and the citizenry in general to condemn and desist from making and spreading expressions in every shape or form that promote hate and division among Sierra Leoneans.

“It’s not just the responsibility of the Government of Sierra Leone to maintain and promote law and order, and peace and stability in the country. It’s equally the responsibility of all political parties, democratic institutions and citizens,” Nasralla added.

They urged the government to work with the leadership of all political parties and other stakeholders to look at the root causes of such dangerous trend and make genuine and honest efforts to address them collectively.

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