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New 98.1 FM edifice commissioned

Station Manager extolled

July 8, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Guests at the official opening of the new building of Radio Democracy 98.1 FM yesterday extolled the Station Manager, Mrs. Asmaa James, for what they referred to as her “relentless efforts and good leadership in taking the station to where it is today”.

Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh, said the opening of the new building marked another milestone in the history of radio broadcasting in the country.

He said the station has proved itself to be a true promoter of democracy in the country as it was the only radio station [actively] operating in the country during the 11 years civil war (sic). He said the station stood for the truth during the military junta when others could not dare, since there was no respect for individuals or institutions.

“I have no doubt that this station will continue to prove itself in the media landscape of this country and also to the people of this nation,” said the NERC boss. “This station has been providing quality journalism and I trust they will continue the good work.”

He paid special tribute to the Station Manager, whom he said has demonstrated good leadership qualities that “as a woman she can do it”.

In her statement filled with emotional bliss, Station Manager Asmaa James said the day marked a significant milestone in the history of the radio station some 18 years ago since it was founded and launched to support, uphold and strengthen democracy and good governance in the country.

She said the station is a non-profit organisation which operates as an independent news media platform with the aim of promoting the ideals and principles of a democratic society, guaranteeing fundamental human rights, and promoting the ideals of an open and transparency government system.

She said the station was set up in 1997 to help restore democracy after the country’s democratically elected government was overthrown, thus leading to massive calls, both locally and internationally, for the reinstatement of the government.

“The establishment of the radio station was critical to sustaining efforts in reinstating democratic governance,” she said, adding that at the time of its establishment, the station did not only provide regular updates relating to ongoing efforts at restoring democracy, but also served as a major reporter of issues that counteracted the propaganda machinery of the military junta.

Madam James said some six months ago, management of the station committed to building a new studio in anticipation of expanding its coverage and increasing production capacity, and that with the vision to ensure independent and sustainable broadcasting, a public fundraising campaign was launched and “the support was overwhelming”.

She thanked institutions like mobile giants Airtel and Africell, Mercury International, and Open Society Initiative for West Africa, among others, for their tremendous support in completing the project.

In his keynote address, World Bank Country Manager, Francis Ato Brown, said immediately he arrived in the country some three years ago, he became attracted to the station’s programs, from which he was able get regular updates on developments across the country.

He said the station played a great role during the 2012 elections, especially in the “professional manner they used to interview their guests, including politicians and other people”.

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