Contesting candidate for the Presidency of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Umaru Fofana aka ‘Obama’ has assured Journalists of a change of their status quo if he wins the elections.
Speaking at the launching of his manifesto and campaign at the Presidential Lounge of the National Stadium in Freetown, Fofana said that “my intention to run for President of SLAJ has been borne out of the need for our Association to be owned once again by practicing journalists.
He added that, when you vote for a new SLAJ President on 29 November, you would be faced with the chance to put an end to special interests that are misdirecting the course of our Association.
Fofana noted that, “we don’t need to carry out any research to know that the compromising of this our cardinal value by some of our colleagues and the defence of shady investors and Public Officers; as well as attacks against genuine ones without consideration for the survival of our Country, are some of the reasons why the public has little respect for and sympathy with us”.
In his manifesto, he stated that, a free media is the bedrock of any benefits that the Association stands to gain; adding that, “without it, we are doomed”.
“Conditions of service for Journalists especially Reporters, if they exist at all, makes me cringe” said Fofana.
He pointed out that, with him as President, SLAJ would actively engage those who own media houses with the objective of meeting their labour obligations with Journalists. On the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Services (SLBS), he said that he would engage the Government through the Ministry of Information to address the inhuman conditions under which Journalist at the SLBS operate.
He stressed that whether he wins or not, he would offer his services free of cost to train them in the use of the Software Abode Audition, which they need to function well as Radio Journalists.
Fofana disclosed that it is unjustifiably incomprehensible that the national secretariat is in one of the noisiest parts of Town, not befitting their status in any way.
He maintained that, protecting the interests of Media Practitioners would not only be in the area of salaries and benefits for Journalists; but also to protect them when they apply for Public Relations jobs in Offices and Organizations.
“With me as your President, the media’s role in the fight against graft would be encouraged with frequent and regular partnership with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC),” he said.
He said that with collaboration with the ACC, they would annually single out colleagues for recognition who helped in this campaign. He urged journalists to vote for the one who has never written or broadcast a word against any journalists.
Endorsements of Fofana were done by Isaac Massaquoi, Amara Bangura of Radio Maknneh in Makeni, Paul Lamin from Kenema and Alpha Jalloh from Freetown. The launching was chaired by Dr.Julius Spencer who urged Journalists to think and vote wisely.
By Abibatu Kamara