Tuesday, 2nd November, 2021 is commemorated globally as the ‘’International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists”. In observance of this Day, heads of the security section institutions in Sierra Leone, represented by the Office of National Security (ONS), Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), National Fire Force (NFF) and Sierra Leone Correctional Services (SLCS), held a roundtable dialogue with the leadership of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) at the ONS Conference Room, Tower Hill, Freetown.

A cardinal objective of the roundtable dialogue was to look at emerging issues that threaten the welfare of journalists, including the responsibility of the security sector in providing the conducive environment for the prevalence of law and order in Sierra Leone. It was recognized that the forging a formidable partnership between the security forces and journalists will not only cater for the welfare of journalists, but will also enable cohesion thereby contributing to national security and development.

The President of SLAJ; Mr. Ahmed Sahid Nasrallah, highlighted the major security challenges facing journalists in the hands of security sector personnel, particularly during elections periods and major presidential functions. He stated that as an Association, he was appeling to the Government of Sierra Leone and the security sector to ensure the provision of a safe space where journalists will do their job without fear of intimidation. The SLAJ President further requested the security sector to teach journalists the various skills that are relevant in their line of duty. He ended by stating that the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the security sector and SLAJ will ensure the safety of journalists and the existence of a symbiotic relationship between the two groupings.

On behalf of the security sector, the Acting National Security Coordinator, ONS; Mr. Abdulai Caulker, pledged the sector’s unflinching commitment to the professional execution of its duties. He assured journalists of the sector’s protection as well as the willingness to share information as long as such divulgence will not compromise the security of the state. The Acting NSCoord’s assurance was reiterated by the leaderships of the respective security sector institutions, including the IGP, CDS, CFO, DG-SLCS, and DG-CISU, who further assured the gathering that the outcome of the deliberations will be cascaded to other security sector personnel across Sierra Leone.

The engagement was climaxed by the signing of an MOU which central theme is “setting forth the understanding and commitment of the parties relating to safety and security of journalists and the maintenance of law and order in Sierra Leone”. Mr. Umaru Fofanah (former President of SLAJ) did the recitations of the MOU.

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