The Minister of Defence, rtd. Major Palo Conteh has expressed his repugnance over what he considered as persistent negative media coverage of the activities of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).
At a press briefing last Friday, the Minister told Journalists that his Ministry is not happy with recent one sided press publications in some local tabloids about the activities of the military.
“If you bring us down, we will all pay the price,” he warned, stressing that “the media is only interested in the negative things that happen around the military whereas there are so many good things about us but they refuse to write about them,” the Minister lamented.
He drew instances of series of developmental activities that the military has been engaged in but according to him the media has not given credit to them for undertaking such projects.
“We have constructed a national monument site, we have also embarked on serious agricultural projects, and our men on international duties have been commended for their professionalism but nobody seems to pay attention to those things,” the Defence boss added.
He called on the media to work closely with the military as the two entities are vital towards maintaining peace and security in the country.
The Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (DCDS) Brigadier Robert Y.Koroma also expressed dissatisfaction about report in one of the local tabloids about an alleged irregular award of contracts by the RSLAF to the advantage of a particular entity. He said this is being investigated by an independent review panel.
He also admonished the media to help them bring the military closer to the populace, stressing “for long we have been in a cocoon, impervious to the people and society. This we believe did not augur well as it created a wide gap between the military and the people. We have decided to operate a credible, transparent and accountable institution, which is why we in fact created the Directorate of Public Relations which will afford the opportunity to interact with us, cross check your facts and elicit credible information”, he advised.
By William Freeman