Sierra Leonean rapper posts “obscene and dangerous” comments about journalist

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a well-known Sierra Leonean rapper’s outrageously insulting and obscene comments on Facebook about a radio station director. Online harassment of journalists in Sierra Leone must stop, RSF says.

In a video posted on Facebook on 11 December, Alhaji Amadu Bah, a popular but controversial rapper also known as LAJ, referred to Radio Democracy director Asmaa James as a “bastard child” because of her station’s reporting about him, and he warned her that “the next time I see you I will piss on your face.”

Radio Democracy had been covering the fact that the rapper is accused of “public disorder” and assaulting a police officer and that he did not turn up for a court hearing on these charges on 6 December.

James told RSF that she was “shocked” by the rapper’s insults and that she had received several threatening calls from his fans since he posted the video.

These comments are obscene, disgraceful, irresponsible and dangerous, and we condemn them with the utmost firmness,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of the RSF’s Africa desk. “We call on Sierra Leone’s justice system to realise the importance of this case and to sanction the author of these hateful and sexist remarks about a journalist whose media outlet simply provided accurate coverage of a matter concerning him.

After many critical comments on social media and a statement by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, the rapper posted an apology on Facebook on 13 December. James filed a complaint with the police cyber-unit yesterday.

Sierra Leone is ranked 75th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 16.12.2021