The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has called on both the Government and the United Nations in ensuing that transparency is displayed in the establishment of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) especially on the part of the Ministry of Information.
According to a press release issued yesterday and signed by scribe Mustapha Sesay it states that “the association believes that to ensure the independence, credibility and sustainability of the proposed SLBC, proper procedures and processes must be followed as any breach will undermine the objects for which it is being established”.
SLAJ is particularly concerned that key stakeholders such as the media, local councils, the private sector and civil society have not been fully involved in the process especially so because they are proposed members of the Board, the release indicated.
The release went on “the Association is also concerned that the creation of the SLBC which will absorb UN Radio, has serious policy implications which will affect not only the institution as a unit, but also the welfare of our colleagues who are working at the SLBS and UN Radio and those that will be recruited to run the proposed corporation’s radio and TV.”
“To ensure that the bill does not get killed in Parliament on grounds of inadequacies, or passed into law only to be amended a year or so later, SLAJ wishes to urge the Ministry of Information to lead the pre-legislative process by opening up the draft to public discourse and debate involving all key stakeholders, especially SLAJ and other proposed Board Members who have been denied access to even a copy of the bill and continue to be ignored altogether,” the release stated.
It ended by indicating that “SLAJ therefore wishes to use this opportunity to request a copy of the draft bill for review by its members before it is tabled in Parliament as failure to do so will be a complete breach of the spirit behind the setting-up of SLBC”.