The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Executive has on Tuesday, 5th July, 2022, issued a press release stating that they have held a meeting with the Clerk of Parliament, Hon Umarr Paran Tarawally on the alleged assault of journalist Abdulai Gbla by Member of Parliament Hon. Abdul Muniru Lansana.
The meeting took place at the Parliament of Sierra Leone, and the SLAJ Executive, led by President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, took the opportunity to also engage the Hon Clerk on the long-standing issue of the Sierra Leone Parliamentary Press Gallery (SLPPG).
The meeting was also attended by Abdulai Gbla.
ON THE ALLEGED ASSAULT OF GBLA
SLAJ revealed that the Clerk started by acknowledging receipt of the letter from SLAJ requesting Parliament to investigate the alleged assault and take appropriate action.
Hon. Tarawally further apologised to Gbla on behalf of the Speaker and Parliament for what he described as ‘the unfortunate incident’ of 28th June 2022, and noted that his apology was based on the fact that the alleged incident was widely reported on social media rather than an outcome of an investigation.
He revealed that the Speaker has engaged him on the issue and requested him to look into the matter, which was why he thought it fit to engage the SLAJ Executive and apologise to Gbla before commencing an investigation.
It was agreed that Parliament will constitute a Committee to investigate the incident and make recommendations. The Committee shall include journalist Abdulai Gbla and a representative from the SLAJ Executive.
“The Committee shall conclude their investigation by Friday 15th July 2022 and would decide on the next steps,” SLAJ stated.
ON THE SLPPG
SLAJ disclosed that, it was agreed that a meeting is held on Friday 27th July 2022 to engage on the issues of the SLPPG Interim Executive, Outgoing Executive, and media accreditation.
“The meeting will comprise Parliament, SLAJ, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG), Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU), Sierra Leone Association of Journalists Electoral Commission (SLAJEC), representatives from the Interim and Outgoing SLPPG Executives, and Chairman of the SLPPG Reformation Committee,” the association revealed.