February 13, 2018 By Elizabeth A. Kaine
Chairman of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) last Friday (9th February) threatened to shut-down media houses that broadcast political advertisements with unethical contents, hate or abusive speech before, during or after the March 7 electoral process.
Ambassador Ibrahim Allieu Kanu, who was speaking at a government presser at Youyi building, said he would not hesitate to close down even the public broadcaster if they were found wanting of putting out unethical advertisemnt.
Ambassador Kanu said that the rule of law should be maintained in Sierra Leone, adding that the commission was determined to regulate the media in the forthcoming elections. He said they have already begun training journalists on the IMC code of conduct with regards the electioneering process.
“We have organised training for 500 journalists on how to report on election issues, especially on whom they invite for interviews. We are also concerned about the kinds of adverts they broadcast or print,” IMC chairman stated.
He encouraged journalists to crosscheck their stories before publication or broadcast, and that they should not allow guests to go against the IMC code of conduct because they (broadcasters and publishers) would be held responsible for such misconduct.
Ambassador Kanu disclosed that they would embark on a sensitisation tour nationwide to ensure that journalists were reminded about their mandate.
He cautioned owners of media houses to be very meticulous with the adverts or news items they put out as such might create financial loss to the media as a a result of possible litigation.
“IMC presently has effective monitoring mechanism in making sure that the commission tracks down media houses that violate the media code of conduct,” he said and assured of the commission’s readiness to sue media houses that fail to comply with the IMC codes of conduct.