25 May 2009


Newspaper publisher turns herself in to police, bail set at "extortionary" level

Incident details

Charges laid, Detention, Other

Sylvia Blyden, Publisher

This is available in:

English Français
(RSF/IFEX) - The amount of bail which a Freetown court has set for the release of Sylvia Blyden, the publisher and editor of the independent newspaper "Awareness Times", is tantamount to judicial extortion, Reporters Without Borders has said.

On 21 May 2009, the court demanded 50 million leones (approx. US$16,000) in bail to free Blyden, who has been charged with publishing false information in a 12 May article about an alleged extramarital affair involving President Ernest Bai Koroma. Blyden turned herself into Freetown police on 20 May.

"This sum would be laughing matter if the case were not so serious," Reporters Without Borders said. "It looks as if Blyden is being personally punished. We urge the authorities to stop persecuting her and to act fairly by releasing her unconditionally."

Blyden has received several death threats.


Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
rsf (@) rsf.org
Phone: +33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51
Sierra Leone
More from Sierra Leone
  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Sierra Leone

    In December, the editor of the Independent Observer was arrested and charged with publishing false information. The paper had incurred multiple sanctions from the IMC over the preceding year.

  • Freedom of the Press 2015: Sierra Leone

    Ranked 103 in annual global media freedom report

  • Freedom in the World 2014: Sierra Leone

    Police open fire on residents protesting development of palm oil plantation