In the last issue Foroyaa published the judgment on the case. Inspector General of Police vs Alhagie Jarju.
It is evident from the court records that the autopsy report indicates cause of death to be heart attack and not as a result of tetanus injuries from his severed finger. Apparently the Foroyaa reporter allowed the version of the deceased’s brother to rule his pen and this stayed outside the guards and fences established by Foroyaa for ethnical reporting on allegations of crime.
All regular readers of Foroyaa could see that its editorial policy on allegations of crime is to safeguard presumption of innocence.
This compels the paper not to even publish raw evidence like autopsy reports for investigations or family members unless it has gone through the litmus test of court proceedings. In short the paper is quite conversant with the fact that how the court views the evidence may be different from how investigators view it.
Hence all reports on incidents that lead to criminal charges must not deal with matters that may be prejudicial to either the alleged victim or the suspect/ accused person. Reports on crime scenes must always be based on eye witness accounts of the facts and not interpretations.
Foroyaa regrets that the article is published in the first place. What confirms that the managing editor considered the article unfit for publication is the fact that it did not go online. The gate keepers also showed disapproval of the publication at that material time and agreed that it should not go on line in the internet.
The court finding helps to buttress the managing editor’s disquiet and helps to further reinforce the training of the journalist on crime reporting. Out of the wrong something good may also be derived. The article is now standard example on the professional way of writing on crime.