January 30, 2015 By Jariatu Bangura
An opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) lawmaker Wednesday slammed President Ernest Bai Koroma’s failure to recognise the media’s role in the fight against the deadly Ebola.
Speaking during a parliamentary debate on last December’s Presidential Address, Hon. Mustapha Braima noted that despite hosting the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) at State House last year, President Koroma failed to commend or at least mention SLAJ’s role in the Ebola fight in his address.
The MP, himself a former broadcast journalist with the state-cum-public broadcaster, said the media has contributed immensely to the fight against the deadly disease, including contributing 30 minutes airtime on 51 radio stations nationwide to air the ‘SLAJ Dreb Ebola’ programme and half page advert for the ‘Early Treatment Saves Lives’ which would have cost government Le2.9bn.
According to Hon. Braima, the present government has jeopardized partnership with the media which their predecessors had forged, citing the controversial issue of the nomination of chairman and some commissioners of the Independent Media Commission, which prompted SLAJ to write President Koroma and copy both the Majority and Minority Leaders of Parliament.
“It was here sometime last year when we hailed the Monologue Programme moderated by David Tam-Baryoh, but at the end we let him down and we were asking for the closure of the radio station. We need to protect them and not bash them,” the lawmaker urged