Reuters’ Simon Akam falsely accuses Maada Bio of being a rebel

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Simon Akam

I just read an article by reuters’ Sierra Leone correspondent Simon Akam (photo inset) ‘Former Rebel turns candidate in Sierra Leone elections’ in reference to SLPP Presidential aspirant Maada Bio. I find it incredibly problematic that Mr. Akam who only quoted three sources in his story would be so careless as to label Bio as a former rebel. He interviewed Maada Bio, former chief justice Desmond Luke, and a Lansana Gberie a historian and while neither of these sources refer to Bio as a former rebel leader, Simon Akam does. While I am not a Maada Bio supporter, I feel as though this article lacks objectivity and is rather slanderous. As a foreign correspondent in Sierra Leone Mr. Akam seems to disregards how his opinion of Maada Bio as a rebel could be used as propaganda by the current ruling APC party. Reuters is an internationally reputable news agency and as a representative of the organization, Simon should find proper evidence to support his words. Maada Bio has every right to sue him for slander and defamation of character.
From what I know of Sierra Leone’s history, Maada Bio was a Brigadier in the Sierra Leone Army, a member of the NPRC, and briefly, Head of State. If you want to call him a rebel cite your source and show the proof. We’ve all seen the photo of Bio hugging Foday Sankoh but that does not substantiate Simon’s claims. Maada Bio was niether a member of the AFRC nor a member of the RUF and Reuters should print a correction. This is irresponsible journalism at its best but then again, most of Simon Akam’s articles on Sierra Leone are primarily based on his personal opinion and not fact. It seems that he writes only to support is own opinions that Sierra Leone is a “ramshackle” nation. If you don’t believe me, google search “ Simon Akam, ramshackle, sierra leone” it is in every last one of the articles he has written in almost a year. 

Aug 18th Update: { Since making this blog post, reuters has done a second edit of the article under a new title and Simon Akam sent me an email explaining that it was his editor who accused Bio of being a rebel and not him. However, if you google Maada Bio the initial article is still up on the reuters site. This new article, might be a little too late… but to read the new edit follow this link  : Former fighter turns candidate in Sierra Leone }

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