February 4, 2019
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, has noted that journalists were ready and willing to supporting transparent, sustainable, effective and fair fight against corruption, which, he said is a common enemy to national development.
“Traditionally, journalists are the watchdogs of society.
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The media in Sierra Leone is ready and willing to support transparent, sustainable, effective and fair fight against corruption in the country because corruption is a common enemy to national development,” he said.
He made the above statement last Friday, 1st February, during an engagement with journalists on the drafting of the 2019 -2023 National Anti-Corruption Strategy at the association’s headquarters on Campbell Street in Freetown.
He thanked the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for engaging and seeking the views of journalists in the fight against corruption, adding that the media plays a greater role in the said fight.
He observed that poverty, politics, tribalism and regionalism were some of the pillars responsible for corruption in the country.
He admitted that the media is not an exception to corruption and that the industry was hugely affected by the menace, which, they as journalists’ body were seriously concerned about.
The SLAJ scribe stated that understandably, the media is financially challenged, a development he said affects the journalism professionalism in the country.
Earlier, Director of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Secretariat, Nabillahi Musa Kamara, said the meeting was meant to engage journalists on the drafting of the 2019 -2023 strategy.
He said the fight against corruption started in the 90s when a certain president of the World Bank described corruption as a cancer that affects development across the world, adding that in 2003 Sierra Leone signed up to the global instrument drafted to fight corruption-the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
He said after the signing process, the Sierra Leone Parliament ratified the convention in 2004, adding that article 5 of that document made it mandatory for member countries to develop effective polices that could involve everyone.
He said from that perspective, they were obliged as a country to abide by the provision of the convention, adding that the ACC led the coordination and implementation of the said document.
He said since the establishment of the ACC in 2000, they have experimented three National strategies of which the second and third ended in November 2018, adding that they have been engaged in the process that led to the drafting of the 2019 to 2023 strategy.
He said the ACC has set up a seven-man team to facilitate the drafting of the fourth National Anti-Corruption Strategy process.
He urged journalists to bring out issues affecting them in their various media houses and chart the way forward on how those challenges could be overcame.
During his presentation, Chairman of the Technical Team of Expert, Mohamed Abu Sesay, noted that corruption undermines the value of the constitution and progress towards greater social and economic transformation, as well as domestic processes.
He said the act does not only result in the loss of state revenue and social development and service delivery, but also erodes the capacity and legitimacy of the state.
He said assessments of public perceptions over the last 15 years showed that citizens felt that corruption has increased, although a rough indicator of it in the country and those perceptions were important pointers in terms of the level of trust between the state and citizens.
He further that the private sector involvement in corruption remains a concern, with many companies still failing to report corrupt activities as a result of the stigma attached to admitting control and governance failures.