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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Advertising is corrupt and unregulated -Report

By Alfred Koroma

SDI has been reporting on Sierra Leone’s state of the media since 2009

Society for Democratic Initiative (SDI) has in their State of the Media report published yesterday disclosed that advertising in the media industry remains largely corrupt and unregulated.

SDI says disorganized, uncoordinated and unprofessional advertising industry is one of the key reasons for the economic woes experienced by media outlets in Sierra Leone.  And that over-reliance on government ads is distracting the media’s ability to play their watchdog in the country.

The report recommends that those placing advertisements in newspapers and on radio or TV need to understand the demographics of those media outlets. They should place ads based on distribution, print run, sales figures readership/listenership demographics, quality of reporting, reputation of the media outlet, target audience and advertising research, the report says.

In 2020, the Government of Sierra Leone repealed the decades old 1965 Public Order Act that criminalized publications deemed libelous. This was seen as a step to enhance press freedom, but SDI report identifies media poverty, state capture, lack of technology, illiteracy, politicization as the issues impeding the operation of the mainstream media in Sierra Leone. Despite the challenges, SDI says the media continues to expand.

Advertising industry is corrupt, says Emmanuel Saffa  Abdulai, Executive Director for SDI while launching the report.

He said most of the people who work on advertising only give advertising to institutions that bribes them, adding that in some instances central government determines which media institutions to give adverts base on their output, and blacklisting some from advertisement because of the content they publish.

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