Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – According to the State of the Media Report produced by the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) almost half of the registered media institutions in Sierra Leone are either mostly off-air or published infrequently.
“Socio-economic and political features have implications for the operations of the media in Sierra Leone,” the report states.
However, since the end of the country’s brutal civil war, the media and communication sector in Sierra Leone has significantly diversified and decentralized.
This period, according to the report, has seen the growth of emerging communication platforms such as mobile phones and the internet, and a proliferation of radio and TV stations.
The report furthered that the growth in communication platforms was visible within the last four years period of 2018-2021. However, as in previous years, the proliferation of media institutions has not occurred without its own problems.
According to the Report, by December 31st, 2021, there were 501 registered and licensed media institutions in Sierra Leone. They fall into various categories: newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and direct-to-home services.
Among them, 174 radio stations were active/operational, 38 inactive/non-operational, 17, inactive television stations, and seven active; seven DTH active, four inactive, 123 newspapers active and 107 inactive, 10 magazines active and 14 not active.
The report further categorized radio and TV stations into public, commercial, community, and religious institutions. Newspapers and magazines are not categorized into specific types. In January 2021, the IMC started the registration and renewal processes, and by the end of the year, 83 newspapers, and magazines, 99 radio stations, and 12 television stations had re-registered.
The report mentioned that Sierra Leone’s media is a depiction of various variables within the political economy construct, ownership, the market, and the structure. “It is also about survival and organization of the media ecosystem, which within the context of Sierra Leone, is shaped by a statutory institution, known as the Independent Media Commission (IMC) which gives licenses for the operations of radio, television, and Direct-to home services and registration for the operation of newspapers and magazines,” the report mentioned. SKS/4/1/2023