SDI Releases Damaging Media Report – ED Lambasts Journalists in Sierra Leone
“A Year of Hate Speech and Political Divide” is the theme of the damning ‘State of The Media Report 2012’, launched past Friday by the Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI) in the conference room of their office at 28 Charlotte Street, Freetown.
The critical report highlights the high level of overt unprofessionalism that characterized Sierra Leone journalism in 2012; especially during the elections when professionally-bankrupt journalists openly took sides and engaged in publishing hate speeches and unprintable vulgarities that dragged to the gutter the name of the noble profession.
Launching the report, the Executive Director of SDI, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai Esq, expressed grave disappointment over the gross unprofessionalism displayed by certain journalists just to achieve their political and economic goals, noting that over the years, many journalists in Sierra Leone have sacrificed the profession on the altar of politics and money. He accused journalists of allowing politicians to infiltrate and divide them, thereby rendering them incapable of forming a united force against the excesses of government.
The Executive Director observed that post war Sierra Leone has been witnessing a systematic bastardization of journalism as the noble profession has been flooded with people who should have no business with it, recalling that during the pre-war years; the country had credible and professional journalists. Mr. Abdulai many media practitioners of neglecting their sacred responsibility of defending the people against exploitation and other forms of injustices and concentrating on hero-worshipping, praise singing and other forms of sycophancy for political and economic reasons.
According to the report, severe cracks within the leadership of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, SLAJ, have made the association become distasteful to many of its members. “In the events leading up to the 2012 elections, SLAJ was perceived by many as voiceless and impotent in its supposed role as the vibrant fourth estate and in performing its governance role within a democratic society. Overall, SLAJ was severely at odds with divergent leadership positions on what steps the association would take to ensure media neutrality in national politics. Major crisis among the executives of SLAJ incapacitated the association and made it unrecognizable to its own members and the general public,” the report lambasts.
The report recommends that current executives must do everything in their power to restore confidence among their membership, and must take extra efforts to amend wounds with other senior journalists, further suggesting that SLAJ should ensure the voice of the association represents a unified true fourth estate to be effective watchdog.
The theme of the 2012 State of The Media Report emanated from the Hate Speech Conference held on Tuesday, June 26th, at Hotel Bamoi, Aberdeen, and Freetown.
By Joseph Milton Lebbie
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