Umaru Fofana, the BBC stringer in Freetown, Sierra Leone , is creating an ugly name for himself in the art of unethical, unprofessional and biased reporting. Last week, Umaru Fofana was at the centre of controversy again when he refused to report to the BBC the very important story of the stabbing death of a supporter of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) —The party that Umaru does public relations for at the BBC –by another SLPP fan.
There was an outcry in the social media about why a man who reports every imaginable story to the BBC about Sierra Leone, as long as it is something that damages the reputation of the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) , COULD HAVE FAILED to report on such a big story about the murder of a party supporter by a fan of the same party, an event that portrays the violence and brutality within the SLPP , which members have now started inflicting on their own colleagues .
Umaru could not report on such a very significant story; yet, few days after, he was in action again practicing what he does best—Putting the APC Government at odds with the international community by unprofessionally reporting that the Government has damned the IMF and the World Bank over the Mamamah International Airport project, which is not only untrue but a dangerous ploy by the opposition SLPP scribe to create suspicions and discord between the APC Government and its financial partners -in-progress for obvious reasons.
State House Communications Director, Jarrah Kawusu-Konte , has decided to take the opportunity to lecture the BBC misfit , Umaru Fofana on journalism ethics and fair reporting :
The Independent Media Commission was set up to regulate the excesses and inadequacies that are involved in the practice of the profession. Its media code of practice gave premium to the principle of accuracy as an essential component in the news business and a basis to informing public debate. Accuracy comes ahead of speed. If you are not sure, hold fire. A concept that will be described by a media guru as WARP SPEED JOURNALISM. Those who trust you will be prepared to wait for your version. In fact, they might use your coverage to check whether a hastily prepared item by a competitor has any truth in it. This presupposes that caution is particularly needed if the topic is controversial. In such cases, too much haste can cause lasting damage to your news brand.
The publication is clearly unprofessional and ethically repugnant. The State House report attributed to in today’s misleading Politico report pointed out the significance of the construction of the Mamamah Airport to the country’s economy and reiterated the Chinese government’s continued willingness and determination to provide solutions to whatever challenges militating against the commencement of the project. Reiterating commitment to the full implementation of the project is markedly different from damning the advice of World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The president stating the need for the airport to be constructed in the mainland coupled with the avowed benefits to the country’s socio-economic advancement need not be overemphasized.
We believed that this erroneous publication is misleading and Politico must ensure that their practice falls within the ethical considerations of the profession.