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Sports journalists under threat

(MFWA/IFEX) - The Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL) has condemned recent attacks on its members by James Fofanah, a loyalist of Nahim Khadi, the president of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA).

Mohamed Fajah Barrie, the SWASAL president, told the Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent that Fofanah, also known as "Jay Jay," has succeeded in instilling fear into its members, making them reticent to go about their regular duties.

According to Barrie, Fofanah, who is an official of the Mighty Blackpool, a Freetown-based premier league club, has been harassing its members because they do not criticize the sports ministry.

According to Barrie, on July 1 2011, Fofanah violently attacked Alhaji Koumba, a reporter of the state-owned Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) in Bo, the second largest city in the country, for allegedly criticizing the SLFA.

"As president of SWASAL, I decided to go on air and warn James Fofanah to stop his unnecessary attacks on sports journalists. I will fight to the last to protect the rights of sports journalists in Sierra Leone", Barrie told the correspondent.

In a related development, Francess Bernard, a sports reporter, was attacked, on July 2, by a thug at the national stadium during a Premier League match for expressing her opinion on the trainer of the Lone Star team on the radio.

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