Al-Jazeera’s credibility is on the line as Sorious Samura exposes his incompetence while attempting to tarnish the reputation of his country of birth

Sorious Samura – Destroying the image of his home country

Al-Jazeera must have been excited when it deployed the services of Sierra Leonean born videographer, Sorious Samura, who may have promised to deliver a fascinating insight on illegal timber logging in the West African Country. After watching the so-called documentary on Al-Jazeera, I can only conclude that with all the fuss about Samura being a credible reporter, there was sufficient evidence to the contrary in the reporting. Evidence that questions the granting of an EMMY Award to one of Samura’s documentaries; as I don’t personally recognise any extraordinary talent in this journalist who has been used before by Channel 4 in the UK and most recently CNN in the U.S. For any credible news media to hire the services of a videographer/reporter to embark on an investigation on their behalf, they need to ensure that person knows what they are doing and are capable of pulling it off without any controversy. The documentary had no proper sequence and no fine directing. It was a bungled affair that lacks the professionalism that one will want to associate with a credible media entity like Al-Jazeera. In fact, it was shambolic. Samura started with an introduction of the mission he was embarking on looking shabby as usual, with an unkept appearance that begs for immediate grooming attention. Maybe it is Al-Jazeera’s habit of hiring scruffy-looking individuals to go underground and do their dirty work for them.

The manner in which the investigation was carried out raises serious questions of incompetence about Al-Jazeera. As a major news organisation, when you embark on an investigation of this magnitude, that has the potential to destroy a country’s image, you must tread carefully and get all the facts right from the onset. I wonder who the producers were of this inadequate attempt to expose anomaly in Sierra Leone’s timber industry. Al-Jazeera must hang its head in shame for approving and implementing such a derelict approach to investigative reporting. It is simply not how it is done!! But it seems Samura’s interest was not geared towards exposing corruption. He wanted to make a name for himself, maybe securing a good bank balance, and destroying the name of his homeland. It is indeed disgraceful, shameful and embarrassing, that a Sierra Leomean would even embark on a venture to tarnish the good name of his country and that of his government. It would have lent some credence to Samura’s reputation, if he had invested his time discovering the fantastic work the government of Sierra Leone is doing to lift our country out of its poverty-stricken state, by showcasing the amazing development strides and the overhaul of our economic and social circumstances. It would have earned him more praise in his hometown, if he had spent a day documenting how the Head of State and his government have taken on the ills of society and challenging the economic destruction inflicted by the previous SLPP government!

But alas, Samura was more concerned about the possibility of winning another Emmy award against the backdrop of dishing garbage to unsuspecting Al-Jazeera viewers about the country where he was born and bred. If Sorious Samura is a professional journalist as he purports to be, he would have been mindful of the ramifications of his apparent bungled investigation. He would have been aware of the damage he was going to inflict on a country that has just come out of a brutal civil war and is still finding its feet on the ground. Samura’s actions has the potential to deprive Sierra Leone of important foreign assistance, as his rather awkward reporting could have been used as a yardstick, and determinant, to curtail the amount of much-needed aid coming into the country. But the adrenalin rush to be recognised as a talented videographer must have interfered with his judgement and sense of discernment. There is nothing wrong with investigating corruption in your own country, but there is something extremely disturbing if the reason for doing so may have nothing to do with changing the way things are done, or influencing an attitudinal and behavioural change; Samura’s intent may also have been clear, he knew the controversy may earn him attention, and probably more credibility that would ensure top media houses like CNN would continue to demand for his services, thus ensuring a continuous flow of cash.

There is an apparent risk that Samura’s reputation may now be in tatters. There are reports coming out of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, that a video does exist that exposes Samura’s ulterior motive. The video is said to reveal that there was no cash transaction inside the office of Vice-President Sam-Sumana. If this is true, then Al-Jazeera should be taken to task; and Sorious Samura will have serious questions to answer to authorities in Sierra Leone. It is interesting to note that Samura left the shores of Sierra Leone just before the documentary was aired. Does this in itself reveal a nasty agenda, wilfully executed to cause the maximum amount of damage? What does Samura hope to gain from destroying the hard-earned image of his country? Was it just for financial gain? Or was Samura’s services secured by a disgruntled opposition party, hell-bent on making political capital out of this? In light of this serious blunder, there may be sufficient reasons to revisit Samura’s past works, and his own record as a qualified journalist, and implore on those who had hired his services in the past, to ensure that he did not distort facts that were in the past presented as credible reporting.

The tables are about to be turned, as Samura himself might face an investigation. The damage already done to our country’s image is incomprehensible. And Samura should understand that the consequences of his actions may now come and hunt him as there are people who are determined to uncover the truth about the real Sorious Samura!!

 

 

First published on Newstime Africa: Nov 25, 2011

 

© 2012, Ahmed M Kamara. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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3 comments

  1. Nicely written article. There is no doubt that the Vice President had no knowledge of the shady deals. I will concede that scams do occur in Sierra Leone, as they do in every country in the world. The open door policy of the Vice President opens his offices up to unscrupulous characters like these shown in the video. However, there is no indication in the video that the V.P. had any knowledge, nor did he seem to support the business activities of the “under cover” business men. Instead, the VP clearly refers them to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, which is the proper protocol. Both the President and VP are cognizant of the land degradation and deforestation issues in Sierra Leone and are making effort to curtail any activities that exasperate the situation. However, since one of the main causes is poverty, a short term solution is not available; therefore, their attentions are on longer term strategies to alleviate poverty. One could make an unlimited amount of videos about other more pressing issues in Sierra Leone, so certainly Mr. Samura’s motive is in question.

  2. Traditionally the media is a western way of stirring news report to the world through networks and base but nowadays things have change significantly since the emergence of information technology. Some of these networks have adopted the habit of propagating bias information about Africa. On top of that the media is influencing professional African journalist to promote negative news in relation to the continent. Therefore, whether it’s an African or western journalism; each individual or group is trying to be famous in the course to rip huge reward. Most often people don’t do things the right way. In addition, the saddest thing is when African journalist such as Sorious Samura is being imbues with a partisan, and western Idiosyncrasy style of bias journalism on Africa, makes the matters worse. It can regard as betrayal if such press officer stand against his/her own mother land.

    Anyway, no matter how much we may try to ignore it, human communication always takes place in a context, through a medium, and among individuals and groups who are situated historically, politically, economically, and socially. This state of affairs is neither bad nor good for a country like Sierra Leone that’s been portrayed inadequately. This is simply bad. Bias is a small word that identifies the collective influences of the entire context of a message.
    Referring to the Serious Samura divisive documentary on Sierra Leone; I strongly recommend the authorities in government should review the authentication of such act, and take into account factual evidences that could be use to charges the offender (Sorious Samura) – for false allegation.

    Nevertheless I think it is best for all Sierra Leonean to put away all kind of indifference and build patriotic harmonious nation that can unify us to meet political and social challenges ahead. Because our socio-economic development relies on our faith and love for one other – at that time, we should unite and follow one ruling government in a democratic way.

  3. Johnny Sannoh

    Sorious (unserious) Samura is a fool who can sell the whole of Sierra Leone for a tiny pot of gold. He should be hanged by his toes.

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