Freetown | 16 March 2018
The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is deeply concerned about the increase in hate speech and tribal slants creeping into the conversation on the elections ahead of the run-off slated for 27th March 2018.
SLAJ views this trend of political discourse as ugly for our nascent democracy and its potential to undermine the peace and stability of Sierra Leone cannot be overemphasized.
Sierra Leone is hugely admired across the world for its ethnic and religious tolerance which are deeply rooted in its culture. Any attempt to tamper with this enviable attribute will spell doom for our nation and generations yet unborn.
We therefore condemn any politician (or political party) playing the tribal card and ethno-regional sentiment in their campaigns to secure votes in this run-off election.
We also condemn and dissociate from any journalist who peddle hate speech and preach tribalism in their publications/commentaries/analyses on the elections.
Furthermore, we call on all journalists and their media houses to resist any attempt by politicians to use them to promote divisions among our people.
As evident in our National Dialogue Series in the run up to the elections, and the 2018 Presidential Debate Series, SLAJ continues to encourage politicians, political parties and their supporters to focus on issue-based discourse around the elections rather than personalities or tribal/regional sentiment.
SLAJ President, Kelvin Lewis, says: “This country belongs to all of us, we should stop this nonsense about tribe or region and begin to show love for this land that we love, our Sierra Leone.”
Ahmed Sahid Nasralla
National Secretary General