|For reckless Journalism …IMC SLAMS OBSERVER NEWSPAPER LE 16.5 MILLION FINE The often-described ‘toothless bulldog’ has started to bite hard on newspapers and Media houses that do not abide by the Media Code of Practice and the IMC Act which regulates the activities of the media in Sierra Leone.The new Commissioners wasted no time but to carry out an hearing on Tuesday February 10 on the complaint submitted by the Monitoring Department of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) on the front page publication of February 6, 2015 of the Independent Observer Newspaper.Reports say that Jonathan Leigh, the Managing Editor of the Independent Observer, appeared before the Complaints Committee without no proper defense to justify his publication.See ruling of the Commission KABS KANU WINS VICTORY OVER ERRANT SIERRA LEONE TABLOIDSYLVIA BLYDEN : THE EDITOR HAS A PATTERN OF WRITING MALICIOUS ARTICLES ABOUT HER
INDEPENDENT MEDIA COMMISSION
3rd Floor, Kissy House 54 Siaka Stevens Street
11th February, 2015
RULING ON A FRONT PAGE STORY PUBLISHED ON THE FRIDAY 6TH FEBRUARY 2015 EDITION OF THE INDEPENDENT OBSERVER NEWSPAPER
HEADLINED “SYLVIA BLYDEN SAYS SHE HAD SEX 3 TIMES WITH REV. KABS-KANU”
The Research and Monitoring Unit of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) in its daily perusal of newspapers came across a lead story published on the 6thFebruary 2015 edition of the Independent Observer newspaper that touched on many aspects of the IMC Code of Practice of 2007.
The matter was brought to the attention of the IMC Board which directed that the Managing Editor, Mr. Jonathan Leigh should appear before the Complaints Committee.
The Committee also took into consideration that it had officially received complaints from Dr. Sylvia Blyden and Rev Wilfred Kabs- Kanu.
Mr. Leigh faced the Complaints Committee on Tuesday 10th February, 2015. At the hearing, he responded to a number of questions relating to the said publication.
When asked about whether he crosschecked his story, got the sides of and/or called the individuals stated in the publication, and adhered to the copyright rule, the Managing Editor, Mr. Jonathan Leigh, said “no.”
On the specific question of whether he took into consideration the provisions of the Code of Practice governing the print media before publishing such a story, Mr. Leigh also said “no.”
After deliberations, the Complaints Committee concluded that the said publication had breached five (5) provisions in the IMC Code of Practice of 2007 dealing with the print media to wit: (1) Accuracy, (4) Copyright, (6) Privacy, (23) Indecency and Pornographic details and (26) Publishing details of a person’s religion, ethnicity, individual lifestyle, or any physical or mental disability.
The Committee took cognisance of the fact that the last three breaches have no stipulated fines in the Code of Practice, and therefore utilised provisions in both the IMC Act of 2000 as amended in 2007 (Section 36 (3) and the IMC Code of Practice of 2007 (principle 31, p. 17) in levying the fines. The provision states that“Where no penalty is prescribed by or under this Act for any complaints inquired into by the Commission, the Commission may censure or impose on the media institution concerned a fine not exceeding Le 5,000,000 (Five Million Leones). Failure by the newspaper or magazine to pay the imposed fine shall lead to the suspension of the publication until the fine is paid.”
The Committee decided as follows:
· That on the breach of the Accuracy principles (Code 1-3), the newspaper be fined Le 1,000,000 (One Million Leones)
· That on the breach of Copyright (Code 4), the newspaper be fined Le 500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Leones)
· That on the breach of the provision on Privacy (Code 6), the newspaper be fined Le 5,000,000 (Five Million Leones)
· That on the breach of the provision on Indecency and Pornographic Materials (Code 23), the newspaper be fined Le 5,000,000 (Five Million Leones)
· That on the breach of the provision on avoiding publishing details of a person’s…individual lifestyle, or of any physical or mental disability unless these are directly relevant to the story (Code 26), the newspaper be fined Le 5,000,000 (Five Million Leones).
· That the newspaper writes letters of apology to the individuals who are the subject of the story to be published three consecutive times with equal prominence being given to the publication.
· That the newspaper retracts the said offending article together with the letters of apology.
The Committee instructed that the fine be paid within one week, failing which the newspaper’s publication will be suspended.
The Board of the IMC at an emergency meeting on Tuesday 11th February 2015 fully endorsed the decisions of the Complaints Committee and the penalty imposed.
Amb. Allieu I. Kanu
COCORIOKO is produced in Somerset, Franklin Township , New Jersey , USA and Brookfields , Freetown, Sierra Leone. The sole owner, financier , Publisher and Chief Executive Officer ( CEO ) is the Rev. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu. All matters pertaining to the paper should be directed to the CEO, Rev. Kabs-Kanu at firstname.lastname@example.org. No article or any part of this website should be reproduced without the expressed permission of the Publisher.