OCTOBER 13, 2014 By Siraju Bah
The newly appointed Chairman of the Information Commission, Mr. Unisa Sesay and his colleague Commissioners last Wednesday October 8 paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, to familiarize themselves with staff of their supervising ministry.
Receiving the delegation, Minister Alpha Kanu congratulated the Chairman and his colleagues on their appointment and encouraged them to give credence to the democratic institution and further enhance the effectiveness of the flow of information to the public.
He informed the delegation that the government of President Koroma believes in the role the media plays in a democracy, and that the flow of information would further enhance the democratic credentials of the country.
“It is in this vein that the government views journalists as partners in development, and therefore would continue to create the enabling environment for them to practice their profession without any let or hindrance,” said Mr. Kanu. “Sierra Leone is among the few countries that can boast of having over 52 radio stations and about 36 functioning newspapers currently operating in the country.”
Commenting on the role of the Information Commission in a democracy, Minister Kanu noted that the media landscape in the country is being overseen by the Independent Media Commission, an independent institution he said was created by an Act of Parliament to ensure that media practitioners perform their duties in line with the Media Code of Practice in order to enhance sanity in the field of journalism.
The minister said the government has long adopted the principles of the Open Government Partnership initiated by the U.S. President, saying that the OGI is the brainchild of President Koroma, which was “later adopted by the U.S. President with a new nomenclature called Open Government Partnership (OGP)”.
Assuring the Chairman and his Commissioners of the ministry’s unflinching support, the minister implored them to work very hard to enhance the credibility of the commission, as “it is a very powerful institution that has the mandate to enter into any government institution to seek information”.
After stating the purpose of their visit, Chairman Sesay assured the minister of his determination to fully perform the functions for which he was appointed.
He applauded the ministry for their invaluable support in putting together all the documents for the formulation of the Access to Information Act.
Deputy Government Spokesman, Ajibu Jalloh, congratulated the Chairman and his team for their new roles and assured them of the support of the Office of the Government Spokesman, whilst encouraging them to work hard in order to realize the dream of President Koroma.
In his closing remarks, the National Publicity and Outreach Coordinator in the Office of the Government Spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay, congratulated the Chairman and his colleagues on their appointments, noting that the Ministry of Information and Communications would continue to support the commission in ensuring that the media and the general public get timely and accurate information as prescribed by law.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Paul Sandi, reiterated the ministry’s readiness to always support the commission in the discharge of its duties.