IFJ Condemns Strip Humiliation of Women Journalists in Sierra Leone

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today strongly condemned the humiliating and

degrading treatment suffered by four women journalists who were stripped naked

in public in Kenema, Eastern Sierra Leone

where they were covering events to mark the International Day against female

circumcision.

"We condemn this

serious assault and violation of the right to dignity which can have traumatic

effects," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office.  "We expect the authorities to apply the full

force of the law to the perpetrators and to eradicate the lawlessness that has

led to numerous incidents of violence against journalists over the recent

months."

According to reports

from Sierra Leone, the four female journalists were "attacked and abducted by

the supporters" of a Pro Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) group who stripped

them naked and forced them to march through the streets of Kenema on Monday,

February 9, 2009. They were only freed after the intervention of the police and

human rights organizations.

All four

journalists were on assignment in Kenema as part of the International Day of zero

tolerance to Female Circumcision. They were accused by their aggressors of

reporting against female circumcision which is considered an insult to their

culture.

The IFJ expressed

its solidarity with the victims and supported the call by the Sierra Leone

Journalists Association (SLAJ), IFJ affiliate, for the government of Sierra Leone to

take appropriate measures in order to curb these acts of barbarism and

discrimination against female journalists.

For more

information contact the IFJ at + 221 33 867 95 87

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123

countries worldwide