Handing over the certificates on behalf of the IRN national coordinator and Search For Common Ground/Talking Drum Studio to representatives of the IRN radio stations, the chairperson for the Independent Media Commission, Madame Bernadette Cole expressed her happiness on the successes that had been made by the Independent Radio Network specially in the recently conducted Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone.
Bernadette Cole stated that during the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2007, a number of radio stations were giving out reports that were inaccurate and thus wanted to create instability in the country but that “when I was invited at the IRN for an interview, I asked the nation not to rely on any radio station but the Independent Radio Network as they were giving out accurate and balance information to the public on the elections”.
The IMC chairperson however stated that there were a number of radio stations that were not obeying the Media Code of Ethics since, according to Madame Bernadette Cole, “a station cannot be established without going through the process that it entails” and this, she said, included applying for license and going through NRA among other requirements.
The IMC chairperson also cautioned them not to allow the IMC “to strike the hammer”. She encouraged them to continue reporting “accurate, truthful and objective news to the public”.
Mrs. Cole also took the opportunity to admonish members of the IRN to be mindful of activities of the pending local council election as “politicians would want to take advantage of journalists because you are poor, but the profession is noble…don’t allow them to influence you…”, she said, and further revealed that people recognized the IRN to the point that even the international community wanted to do business with the network.
Speaking on why the network of independent radio stations decided to give certificate to member radio stations the IRN Coordinator, Ransford Wright who is also the Manager of Believers’ Broadcasting Network [BBN], said it was a way of recognizing the great stride of all member stations in making what the network looked like today and that, “the success of IRN depends on its membership.
A total of 29 member stations received certificates among them, Kalleone radio, Kolenten radio in Kambia, Skyy, BBN Choice fm in Lungi Kiss 104 in Bo, Eastern radio in kenema and radio Gbafth in Mile 91
Andrew Koroma of Skyy Radio praised the good job of all IRN radio stations during the 2007 elections.
He also paid tribute to Bernadette Cole for her role in developing the media landscape in the country, especially in developing the Mass Communications Department at Fourah Bay College. He referred to her as “the mother of Sierra Leone’s media”.
In an interview with Awoko one of the certificate recipients, Amara Smart Bangura of Radio Mankneh in Makeni, revealed that such recognition would help stimulate his station to be more committed to working with IRN and that, “we feel very proud and good as a station to receive such as a certificate.”
Meanwhile, reports from within IRN state that plans are underway for the commencement of its national coverage of election related issues as was the case in 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, but that in preparation for the local council elections, the network will in mid May 2008 start broadcasting a daily hourly news to the nation, thus keeping the people informed on the elections.