Africell commemorates World Radio Day, signs MOU with 51 community radio stations

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By Ishmael Dumbuya

Africell SL yesterday 13th February commemorated World Radio Day at the company’s headquarters, Wilberforce, Freetown, on the theme: “Radio: A century informing, entertaining, and educating”. The commemoration saw Africell pledged support for 51 other community radio stations in the country.

The 2024 observance highlights the history of radio and its powerful impact on news, drama, music and sport.

In his opening address, Africell’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Joe Abass Bangura, stated that they were renewing their commitment with  51  radio stations across the country. He disclosed that they were providing electricity supply to some radio stations that they will continue to provide support to them.

He went on to state that they have heard the request for the review of payment to partners, adding that, they will look into the matter. Through their radio station, he said they have supported national development especially during the outbreak of Ebola and the Covid-19. He commended journalists for the great work they have been embarking on over the years.

Kalil Kallon, Executive Secretary of the Independent Media Commission (IMC), described radio as a very important tool to the development of any nation, adding that radio has helped in shaping the world.

He indicated that there are 243 radio stations in the country and 39 of them are community radio.

He underscored that radio has helped in promoting dialogue, stressing the invaluable contributions of community radio. He said that community radios have helped to bridge the gap between the people and their stakeholders, noting that radio has promoted social cohesion. He therefore called for more support to radio stations in the country.

President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasarala stated that he was honored to be part of the program. He commended Africell for supporting radio stations in the country. In the context of the economic situation, he said that, radio stations are facing enormous challenges in terms of equipment, staff salary, lack of technical.

He added that with the proliferation of digital platforms, radio stations have suffered serious challenges and that that many people are reliant on radio for their information.

He acknowledged all those that have contributed immensely in Sierra Leone radio information dissemination and also commended the role of Radio Democracy, IRN and others, for supporting democratic and civil engagement.

He further added that, radio fosters dialogue and empowers community to channel their concerns. He reaffirmed their commitment in supporting community and fostering national development and fostering inclusivity and dialogue in empowering communities and promoting national cohesion.

One of the media partners of Africell, Mrs. Asmaa James, thanked Africell for supporting the media and added that it has been a very beautiful experience working as partner with Africell. She further commended colleague radio partners especially women station managers and called on Africell to support more community radio station.

Another partner, the CEO of Universal Radio, Mr. Josiah Paris thanked Africell for the support to radio stations and also joined in the appeal by calling on Africell to increase support to them.

Augustine James, on behalf of the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG), stated that “we are not only celebrating world radio day but celebrating trusted source of Information.

 He disclosed that MRCG has trained many journalists on their activities and commended all journalists working in radio station for their great work in promoting good governance and democracy in Sierra Leone.

Chairman of the Sierra Leone Broadcasters Association, Mr. Starling Bangura stated that the occasion has challenged them to work more assiduously. He thanked Africell for supporting the media. He added by calling for more support. He also called on Africell to support radio stations with equipment especially those that are facing equipment challenge.

Starling Bangura climaxed the event by presenting certificate of appreciation to the President of SLAJ, IRN, MRCG and the Africell Mobile Company for supporting radio stations in the country.

World Radio Day is a day commemorated to raise greater awareness among the public and media regarding the importance of radio. The day also aims to encourage radio stations to provide access to information through their medium and enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

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