SLAJ opens first ever office in Kenema
Freetown – The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists on Saturday 31 July opened its first-ever Eastern Provincial Headquarters in Kenema; 39 years since the association was founded. It comes a few months after a regional office was established in Makeni for the Northern Province and a National Headquarters in Freetown.
Commissioning the office which is situated at 10 Homonya Avenue in Kenema, SLAJ President Umaru Fofana said it was in fulfilment of his administration’s commitment to ensure that the association’s presence was seen and felt in all parts of the country. He assured that he would do all he could to get a Southern Regional Office in Bo as soon as a suitable and reasonable place was identified by the regional executive there.
“Please use your new office as a place to show solidarity and unity among yourselves, a place to exchange ideas, a place to learn and practise your trade professionally and objectively”, the SLAJ President urged the large crowd of excited journalists. He said the National office in Freetown would send books and other materials on the practice of good journalism so journalists in the region would improve their skills.
Fofana told the journalists that funds for the rental of the office and the provision of furniture had come in part from residue of money provided by the British High Commission and the UNDP for the setting-up of the SLAJ National Headquarters. He pleaded with the traditional authorities in Kenema to donate a plot of land to the association for the construction in the medium term of a more permanent SLAJ structure in Kenema. He urged the SLAJ regional executive and membership to make good use of the new facility and rent their sitting room for press conferences and other media events so as to generate revenue and become self-reliant.
The SLAJ Chairman, East, Mohamed Vandi said they were grateful to the leadership of the SLAJ President saying the new office symbolised how far the association had come in the last 19 months and called for all in and out of the executive to work in the interest of the association and stop bickering. He said they were extremely grateful for the office and would put it to full and resourceful use. Vandi however said that they needed computers for use but also for training of journalists in the region most of whom cannot use the computer.
The ceremony was chaired by Magistrate Komba Kamanda and was also attended by representatives from civil society and the Kenema District Council who pledged a continued harmonious working relationship with the media.
Meanwhile the President of SLAJ wishes to remind all journalists that the General Meeting scheduled for 11:00 AM on Tuesday 3 August 2010 at the SLAJ Headquarters, as earlier announced, still stands. Crucial issues will be discussed.
Ismael Koroma, National Assistant Secretary-General, SLAJ
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