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Edition of newspaper seized by police

(MFWA/IFEX) - Police authorities in northern Sierra Leone on October 30, 2011 blocked the sale and distribution of the October 26, 2011 edition of privately-owned-Monrovia-based "the Global Times", after confiscating several copies of the newspaper for allegedly breaching the peace of the Koinadugu District.

Readers in the interior parts of Sierra Leone receive newspapers two or three days late due to transportation difficulties.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the seizure was ordered by Superintendent Biango, the Local Unit Police Commander of Kabala, a town in the district.

The correspondent said the seized edition of the newspaper included an article critical of Alhaji Allie Batorma Sheriff, a former chairman of the main opposition Sierra Leonean People's Party (SLPP) who has now defected to the ruling All People's Congress (APC).

The "offending" article was headlined, "Is Batorma Sheriff an ungrateful Man?", criticizing Batorma Sheriff for his defection.

According to Superintendent Biango, he took the decision in order to forestall the threats to peace in the district from where Batorma Sheriff hails.

Meanwhile, the management of the newspaper has expressed their readiness to institute legal action against the police.

In a statement, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) condemned the police saying "we are gravely disturbed by reports of an attack on press freedom by no less a person than Superintendent Biango"

MFWA adds its voice to the widespread condemnation of police censorship.

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