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