Director of Open Government Initiative (OGI) has called on government to create an enabling environment for media practitioners and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to fully participate in the socio-economic and political development of the country as relevant government information and policies can be successfully disseminated to the people through an independent civil society and media organizations, thus creating the platform for positive criticism.
Ms. Khadija Sesay was speaking during a weeklong activity marking the official opening of the OGI regional office in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone, and a symposium organized as part of a strategic plan for the next two years.
Ms. Sesay said the mandate of OGI was to bring government to the people and the people to the government, but that the feat could only be effective when the media and civil society are well capacitated and with the necessary support from government, adding that it was the primary responsibility of the media and civil society to alert government on issues directly affecting the people for possible solution.
She said OGI has been working with the media since its inception, but it was about time government created more opportunities and strengthen their capacity in order to effectively carryout their responsibilities without any hindrance.
“We know clearly that civil society and the media are faced with a lot of constraints, and therefore it is the responsibility of government to create more space for them, and OGI has strived for the past years to establish offices across the country. This is to allow media, civil society and the paramount chiefs to work together for their respective communities. They have been doing well and that is the reason I am advocating to the president to create a conducive working environment for them.
“We are here in Makeni to officially open the OGI northern region office with latest communication equipment so that people will access information. The launching of the first digital library in Makeni will enable and strengthen communication between the people and government,” she said adding that Paramount Chiefs across the country, including local tribal heads also joined stakeholders in Makeni to participate in the development of the strategic document of the organization.