The Chairperson of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) Mrs. Bernadette Cole has urged political leaders of the two radio stations to set up governance structures for the smooth running of their respective stations.
The call came at the end of a three day intensive training organised by the IMC in collaboration with the Mass Communication Department of Fourah Bay College and the British High Commission.
Mrs Cole further affirmed that the structure should include a Board to decide on policy, give direction to the way the radio station should be run and monitor its output to ensure that the station is not used to incite people, broadcast hate messages and stigmatise and demonise their opponents.
These unsavoury practices give a bad name not only to the radio stations but also to the political parties she opined stressing that, “there should also be in place a management with clear designations and lines of authority.”
She also called for staff to produce and present the various programmes, and noted that “of utmost importance is the need to develop programme schedules to guide not only the staff on the programmes that they should produce and present on a daily basis, but more importantly the listeners who should know what to expect”.
The IMC Chief further noted that “we believe that the absence of these vital elements contributed to the poor performance of the radio stations and the call by the public to ban them”
She also called on the political parties to ensure that there are enough funds to sustain the salaries and conditions of service of their staff, the production of programmes and the general sustainability of the radio stations.
“If the political party leaders can do all these things, the problems with regard to the poor performance of the political radio stations will be a thing of the past,” emphasising that “the success of this effort will be measured by the future performance of the radio stations, in particular their ability to refrain from doing those things that led to the recent public outcry and their efforts to adhere strictly to the Media Code of Practice.”
She also lauded the efforts of the two political parties for their cooperation in making the training possible.
The highlight of the training was the production by the participants of a joint discussion programme on the topic Political party radio stations and democratic tolerance and further observed that “from the rapport developed between the staff from the two political radio stations, one could discern that they have come to appreciate the virtue of tolerance and the role that radio stations should play to cement national cohesion, unity and peace”.