Rejoinder to Sylvia Blyden

By  | 6 February 2010 at 03:15 | 1400 views

On Wednesday January 11, 2010, during the course of the public’s curiosity to learn the truth about the break in that took place at the Anti-Corruption Commissioner’s office, the Editor of the Awareness Times, Dr Sylvia Blyden, misguided citizens of Sierra Leone in one of her articles, “Sierra Leone’s Abdul Tejan-Cole’s Life is Not in Any Danger” when she came out mudslinging that an article which was published earlier in the Patriotic Vanguard newspaper, “Freetown: ACC office Vandalized” authored by “one” Christian F. Sesay was “totally false, preposterous and without merit”.

She further opined that” whilst the strong denial from the ACC boss had guided her not to run the said article, unfortunately, several other papers went ahead to run the allegations without first cross checking”, she concluded.

The Awareness Times, which with all fairness, I initially deemed a respectful paper, was contacted with this story on Wednesday 6th January. I confided in Dr Blyden hoping that she would be pretty much instrumental in alerting the general populace, through my article, to the sensitive issue of protecting one of the nation’s most competent public servants, the ACC boss.

After her so-called electronic interview with the commissioner, one would expect her to have informed me first about the contrary position given by the commissioner, but oh no! Instead, she rushed to the press, all dressed in her usual condescending coat lambasting and tarnishing the integrity of others and in her sneaky way trying to make herself look like the only credible paper on the face of the planet. Yeah, right! I wonder what will be going through her head now that it has been confirmed that indeed there was a break in at the ACC’s office. Now tell me who is credible and who is sleeping at the steering wheel?

The fact in this matter is that having learnt of what happened to the ACC’s office in recent days, Dr Blyden would have realized by now that I do have my integrity intact because my story was neither false nor preposterous, thanks to Standard Times for later delving into the truth with open mindedness and publishing its findings.

Dr Blyden behaved very unprofessional and betrayed not only my trust and respect but the rest of Sierra Leoneans in need of the truth. Her action is unbecoming and such unbecoming reporting makes me wonder if it was as a result of her imperfect nature of journalism practice which makes précis of news events based on her uncontrollable impulsiveness or just sheer mean spirit.

It was my sincere conviction that Dr Blyden would have joined others to make a clarion call for the government to provide maximum security for Mr. Tejan-Cole. But I guess I was simply too naïve to even think of that in the first place knowing what I do know now. You can’t trust her. Like Julius Caesar who finds out the hard way ….Et tu, Brute – oh yes, she will betray you.

I am particularly disturbed that the editor of the self-acclaimed, most widely circulated newspaper, Awareness Times, will post such an article devoid of intellectual cross-examination and critical analysis. To make matters worse, compromise the trust and respect bestowed on her long before I ventured to share my story with her. I doubt if the editor had the patience and wherewithal to make good judgements without resorting to disparage others.

Whilst it is true that my dear editor has the right to cross check every story passed on to her – a hallmark of good journalism, yet common sense will wish that, it is also true for my dear editor to have spoken to me in private as I did when I got the story instead of willfully attempting to tarnish my image as a writer who has nothing else to do in the United States but to fabricate stories. The overall effect of her report is that I almost suffered damage to my reputation. But my General paper teacher at St. Edward’s will be quick to tell me that common sense is not common.

After publishing my article, I want you to know that I still stand by my story and that the enemies of progress in Sierra Leone will go to the edge of the earth to hurt the ACC if given the chance. And, whether he accepts or denies it, which is totally irrelevant to me at this time because well intentioned Sierra Leoneans like me will continue to pray for him as he embarks on weeding out the nation’s curse- corruption. However, what is relevant here is that Dr Blyden once again failed to connect the dots in the face of a serious threat to the ACC. Instead, she is busy taking a swipe at other innocent citizens even when the truth is flying everywhere.

In light of the hard evidence from the break in incident coupled up with the alleged motive of the robbers that are emerging, it seems as if Dr Blyden should have put sound judgment over self agenda. She failed embarrassingly, let her staff down, and her judgment is once again shrouded in doubts and ridicule.

All this, of course, raises the question of accountability of the media. As it is given that freedom, it has corresponding responsibility. So even though freedom of speech and of the media are an integral, and one dare say cherished part of the young democracy the people of Sierra Leone enjoy today, the media is not at liberty to tarnish the reputation and image of any individual without thinking of the consequences. Mind you, the pen is not the private property of anyone man. We can use it - and use it effectively when and if the need arises.

Until then, I respectfully want to advise/plead/caution Dr Sylvia Blyden to “pipe down” on her “wahala drama” and in the process not drag some of us “PEACEFUL” citizens into it.

My upbringing and general demeanor make it very difficult for me to engage her in a “fight” over some back stabbing and untrue remarks she makes about my integrity and professionalism; I leave that to God and the public at large.
I’d also like to assure her that her newspaper should not be a platform for “attacks”. We strive to do our bit for our country. We have made mistakes and will continue to, because we are just mere mortals in the quest of brilliance in this chaotic life, but on the balance so far, we proudly stand tall in service to “God and Sierra Leone”

Much as I respect her right to speak her mind on issues … I kindly entreat her to take it easy… Sierra Leone is bigger and deserves better…Cheers, Dr Sylvia Blyden. God bless us all.