Good News : ‘Independent Observer’ fined Le 16 million for lying on Kabs Kanu and Sylvia Blyden ; Ordered to apologize for their lies , retract false report AND pay fine in one week or face suspension

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 KANU6KABS KANU WINS VICTORY OVER ERRANT SIERRA LEONE TABLOIDSYLVIABLYDENWASHINGTON2 (600 x 591)SYLVIA BLYDEN : THE EDITOR HAS A PATTERN OF WRITING MALICIOUS ARTICLES ABOUT HER

INDEPENDENT MEDIA COMMISSION

                                                                                              3rd Floor, Kissy House                                                                                                                      54 Siaka Stevens Street

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E-mail: info@imc-sl.org

www.imc-sl.org

 

Ref: IMC/09/09/01

 

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.”

 

RULING

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.

PENALTY

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.

 

Signed

 

Amb. Allieu I. Kanu

Chairman, IMC

 

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