All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ - Edmund Burke

August 2, 2009

S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 7 No 9

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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22 August: Two independent bi-weekly newspapers, the Standard Times and the Vision, announced Friday they were suspending publication immediately "due to insecurity."

The two are the latest on a number of newspapers forced to close since the May 25 coup, including the Punch, For Di People, the Democrat, New Tablet, Freedom Now, Unity Now, and The Sierra Leonean.

 The editors cited "harassment by security officials as the cause of their decision to close down. Standard Times editor Philip Neville said, "I decided to suspend publication because I was virtually haunted by fierce looking men at night. They will knock on my door and smear paint on my windows."

Neville was beaten up by uniformed men three days after the coup. So far no one has been charged.

 Other journalists who have been harassed or detained by the military include Unity Now editor Frank Kposowa, Voice of America correspondent Kelvin Lewis, and BBC correspondent Victor Sylver.

Of the 52 newspapers operating under the civilian government, only eight continue to publish. They include the government-owned Daily Mail and Expo Times, both with strong times to the AFRC; Concord Times, the Point, The Pool, Torchlight, Herald Guardian, and We Yone.

Commissioner for Information and Broadcasting Sedu Turay said the editors are blaming the government for their own shortcomings. Journalists should keep in mind that they are responsible for what they are reporting, he said.


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