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Deputy Information Minister Secures Nigerian Support For Sierra Leone News Agency

Deputy Information Minister Secures Nigerian Support For Sierra Leone News Agency

Sierra Leone’s Deputy Information and Communications Minister Hon. Sheka (Shekito) Tarawalie has succeeded in getting cooperation and support at different levels from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to revive and upgrade the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA).

The Minister’s successes emerge from a two hour long discussion with the Managing Director of Nigeria News Agency Mrs. Oluremi Oyo at her Plot 394 Independence Avenue Abuja Office Thursday January 13, 2011.

Mrs. Oluremi Oyo and her management promised to exchange personnel, train staff at different levels in reporting, news gathering, news writing, news dissemination and marketing.

Sierra Leone’s Information and Communications Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Mr. Sheku A. Tamu and Information Attaché Pasco Gerald Temple had accompanied Hon. Sheka Tarawalie on a courtesy visit to the management and staff of NAN and also to do a follow-up in relation to an earlier move made by Minister of Information and Communications Alhaji Ibrahim Kargbo seeking help and bilateral cooperation for SLENA in the areas of capacity-building and equipment. .

According to Honorable Tarawalie, the President Ernest Bai Koroma Government is very determined to increase media and communication literacy and the professional skills of journalists and civil society actors in Sierra Leone.

“We believe that strong and independent media and effective civil society communication are vital for sustainable, equitable development and that both sectors need to be empowered because it will create a constructive environment where interaction among media, development actors, civil society, political institutions, governmental and intergovernmental organizations can be better understood,” he maintained.

Honorable Tarawalie said the three years in office of  the President Ernest Bai Koroma Government have seen the promotion of human rights, freedom of expression and a pluralistic and participatory society by empowering an independent, vibrant media sector manifested in the transformation of the formerly government-owned broadcaster to a  public corporation.

“Consequently, the role of civil society and citizens has become more important because they can now hold government accountable and participate fully in public policy making.

“We believe that all citizens — but especially those without power and influence — have a right to have their voices and perspectives reflected in news, information and public debate; hence the determination by the Government to resuscitate the Sierra Leone News Agency,” the Minister asserted.

Pasco Gerald Temple, Information Attache, Sierra Leone High Commission, Abuja, Nigeria

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