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IRN condemns attack on its member station, Radio Gbafth, and its staff

IRN condemns attack on its member station, Radio Gbafth, and its staff thumbnail

Freetown, 24th July, 2012: The Independent Radio Network (IRN) has received report of an attack on one of its member stations, Radio Gbafth in Mile 91, Tonkolili District, Northern Region. The incident reportedly occurred on the 19th of July 2012 at about 9:15 p.m, when aspirants for the Yoni Chiefdom Youth Chairmanship elections were invited to a radio programme on the postponement of the Youth Election by the Tonkolili District Council.

According to the report, one of the panelists John Raka Conteh (alias Potas) refused to answer to a question put to him by the moderator, Ibrahim Abdul Conteh, and instead wanted to divert the topic of discussion. Mr. Conteh was eventually put off air because he refused to adhere to the rules governing the production and moderation of the programme. Consequently, Mr.  Conteh moved from Studio 2 to Studio 1 (Live studio) and manhandled the moderator, while two other youths who accompanied him to the radio station also forcefully entered the studio with ‘broken bottles to stab the moderator’. ‘’Some of our equipment like laptop computer, digital recorders, and external hard-drives got missing and vandalized during the pandemonium’’ says Hassan Y. Koroma, Station Manager, Radio Gbafth.

The Independent Radio Network (IRN) strongly and unequivocally condemns all forms of attack and intimidation on its member stations and staff. The IRN views such a move as a deliberate attempt to kill the culture of discourse on issues of national importance. ‘’We are saddened by the fact that the alleged assailants wanted to intimidate and stop the radio station from performing its role of providing a forum for ethical debates on issues in the community’’ says Ransford Wright, IRN National Coordinator. The network finds it unbelievable that ‘a panelist’ would want to determine what question should be put to him by a broadcaster. IRN further believes that no one has the right to take the law into his/her hands. ‘’People must learn to channel their grievances, even if not genuine, to institutions that are charged with the responsibility of ensuring peace and tranquility in society’’ Mr. Wright adds.

While the report earlier received by IRN notes that ‘’the police and the community came to the station’s rescue during the attack’’, it is calling on the police, particularly the top leadership in Tonkolili District, to ensure that the attackers are arrested, charged and prosecuted before a competent court of law.

The IRN would like to state that it is determined to render its services in the public interest and its member stations would continue to work within the ethics of the profession.

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