Remembering all members of the media killed or harmed and all others who so courageously stand up for the media’s right to report freely and independently.
Every day, journalists and members of the media face harassment, intimidation, harm, torture, jail time and even being killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public that exposes abuses and corruption.
On this day, Dr. Richard Konteh join leaders of the free world to remember all members of the media killed or harmed and all others who so courageously stand up for the media’s right to report freely and independently. Impunity for crimes against journalists is unacceptable and must stop.
When attacks on journalists remain unpunished, a very negative message is sent that reporting the “embarrassing truth” or “unwanted opinions” will get ordinary people in trouble. Furthermore, society loses confidence in its own judiciary system which is meant to protect everyone from attacks on their rights. Perpetrators of crimes against journalists are thus emboldened when they realize they can attack their targets without ever facing justice.
As the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price. Without the ability to protect journalists, our ability to remain informed and contribute to decision-making is severely hampered. Without journalists able to do their jobs in safety, we face the prospect of a world of confusion and disinformation.”
Supporting honest and transparent reporting is essential for a thriving democratic society and for law and order. This includes investigating incidents of harassment or violence against journalists and ensuring that those responsible for ordering and committing attacks face justice.
On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Dr. Richard Konteh and D-Unifier team remember those reporters killed while doing their jobs, and call on the government of Sierra Leone to support an immediate end to all threats, intimidation, and violence against journalists and other media professionals for their work. Sierra Leone is built on unity, freedom and justice. An unwavering support for press freedom is enshrined in this nation's constitution, and Sierra Leoneans should constantly call out those who seek to undermine this essential component of a healthy society. The government of Sierra Leone should firmly be committed to defending media freedom at home and abroad, and not just pay lip service to this cause.