Seven print journalists from the independent media: Betty Foray, Chernor Ojuku Sesay, Sorie Sudan Sesay, Pasco Temple, Mariama Coker, Alhaji Jalloh, and Abdul Karim Koroma, over the weekend graduated from a week’s training workshop in preparation for their new assignments abroad.
Addressing the new appointees at the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA) over the weekend, the deputy minister of Information and Communications Mohamed D. Koroma boasted that, “the days of yellow journalism are over as journalists in Sierra Leone have now transcended from kingmakers to kings.”
He said the training was very crucial to the effective functioning of the new appointees in their various host countries, adding that the training had equipped them to adequately project the image of the country abroad in order to attract tourists and investors to the country.
He reiterated government’s commitment to freedom of expression and of the press in Sierra Leone, but cautioned that such freedoms should go with responsibilities.
He therefore encouraged them to imbibe the concept of behavioural and attitudinal change by exhibiting honesty, objectivity, fairness, truthfulness, respect, and transparency in their new assignments.
As he put it, “you are going out there as ambassadors of the country and the ministry of Information in particular, therefore any success or failure would be reflected on the ministry.”
Philip Neville, the president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), requested each appointee to use his/her office to clean the image of Sierra Leone so that more investors would be attracted to the country. He ended up pleading with the new attachés to contribute towards the financial sustenance of SLAJ, as the organization was heavily counting on them to enhance high professional standard in journalism. The Ag. director of Information, Dominic Lamin, acknowledged the impact of the training on the participants. He admonished them to treat their work seriously so as to generate investment and donor support for the country. The consultant for the National Communication Strategy project, Rod Mac Johnson, noted that the training was highly rewarding to the participants, but observed that it was the beginning of Herculean challenges ahead of them in executing their duties in their respective offices abroad.