In launching the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Unity FM 94.9 radio station yesterday, President Koroma told the party not to be afraid of broadcasting.
President Koroma stated that he hoped the SLPP Unity radio will broadcast within the rules of the law and that of the Independent Media Commission, telling them to use their radio station positively so that Sierra Leoneans will be proud of their country.
He stated that he was launching the Unity radio in a grand style and in a democratic manner thus signaling that indeed Sierra Leone has a democratic nature. “Now that the Unity radio station is hitting the airwaves I believe the APC and the SLPP are therefore enjoying a level playing field. It is left with how persuasive and how truthful the messages from both stations will be able to convince the public out there” the President stated.
The Head of State said that he was launching the radio station as a manifestation of democratic tolerance and respect for human rights, remarking that after his inauguration, he made a commitment for the consolidation of peace and to deepen democracy.
Earlier, the Secretary General of the Sierra Leone People’s Party Jacob Jusu Saffa assured the President that Unity radio will stand by its core values and will be prepared to work with the government for the good of the country.
“Your excellency you have reiterated on many occasions your commitment to promote democracy and the rule of law, as an opposition party we have no option but to work with you in this direction as we believe this is the only way out and forward” he told the President.
He maintained that the media was the means where the voiceless people could be heard stating that the SLPP Unity radio shall analyse and oppose anything not properly done in the interest of the people.
The SLPP Chairman and acting leader, Alhaji Usman Nurudeen Saheed Jah who was the chairman for the official launch called the ceremony as historic for the president to launch an opposition radio station.
He reflected that since their party office was vandalized on the day the elections result was announced since then, the police have not done enough to bring the culprits to book. “As President of the nation, we pray for your kindly intervention to see that justice is done for justice denied is suppression to democracy and Mother Sierra Leone”
He called on the President “to ensure the continual survival of democracy in our country in relation to the freedom of the press as entrenched in the constitution of Sierra Leone” adding that “you know that you are president not of Isaac nor Ishmael nor Jacob but of all the people”
President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Phillip Neville spoke on the theme promoting democracy- the role of the media.
The acting PPRC chairman R.A Caesar, Hon Elizabeth Lavalie of SLPP, Dr Kargbo from the Independent Media Commission all spoke of the roles and the responsibilities of the media.
In September 17 last year when the presidential and parliamentary election results were announced, the head office of the SLPP was attacked and vandalized with its radio equipment stolen.