June 4, 2018
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
With the aim of changing the dynamics of reporting in Sierra Leone and around the world, the Global Africa Media, which comprises newspaper and website publications, public relation consultancy and documentary production, last Friday (1st June) launched in Freetown.
Speaking at the launching ceremony held at the Harry Yansaneh Hall, headquarters of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists on Campbell Street, Chairman of the Independent Media Commissioner, Ambassador Alliue Kanu said the role of the commission was to regulate the media in the country.
He disclosed that the country currently has 40 forty registered radio stations, three television stations and 127 newspapers.
He noted that every Sierra Leonean has right to operate a newspaper, adding that all the individual should do is to go to the Independent Media Commission and legally register his media outlet.
He said when he took over the commission as chairman, he inherited dysfunctional structures and that his administration has addressed all of that in the past years.
Amb. Kanu said the role of the IMC includes not only to regulate media houses but to also empower journalists and that they have conducted several capacity building trainings for journalists across the country.
Also speaking at the launch, Lawyer Mohamed Pa-Momoh Fofanah said the seditious libel law has been a thorny issue as journalists in the country have been grappling with it for a very long time.
He said in order for the country to stand tall in terms of democracy, the law ought to be looked into to established its importance or otherwise in the development of the nation’s democracy and how it could impact the lives of the people.
He narrated that the 1965 Public Order Act was enacted with a view to put a system in place to control ordinary people’s intent to rise against government.
He observed that the seditious libel law should be expunge because journalists have a responsibility to hold government accountable on behalf of the citizenry.
Also speaking on the role of the private sector in promoting the media in Sierra Leone, Managing Director of Mercury International, Martin Michael said he was honoured to be part of the launch of the magazine.
He said the private sector was doing nothing to promote the media in the country, especially in the area of empowering journalists’ training and skills.
He said the private sector should help the media grow not only by dishing out advertisement but through sponsorship to attend conferences and overseas training for journalists.
Also, Director of Communication at State House, Tanu Jalloh, said the new government led by President Julius Maada Bio was committed to repealing Part Five of the 1965 criminal libel law of Sierra Leone.