SLAJ, TDS resolve problem at Radio Bintumani
Freetown – Tension between the Chairman of the Koinadugu District Council and the community radio station in the area, Radio Bintumani, has been resolved following an intervention by SLAJ and Talking Drum Studio (TDS).
The situation was triggered by the Council Chairman, Peter Bayuku Conteh who had asked that the Manager and the Board of Directors of the radio be changed, leading to some youth in the town verbally attacking the station manager and other staff of the radio after a letter, addressed to the Independent Media Commission, was pasted all over town.
Over the weekend a 5-member SLAJ/TDS delegation visited the northern town of Kabala and held talks with all eleven Paramount Chiefs in the district, the Board Members, the Council Chairman and staff of the radio.
The Council Chairman had said that both the Board of Directors and the Station Manager should be changed, something SLAJ and TDS condemned, insisting that while the Board should be reconstituted after every three years, as stated in the radio station’s constitution, the same did not apply to the Station Manager and his staff.
SLAJ President, Umaru Fofana, told the Paramount Chiefs and the District Council Chairman that the setting-up of the Board and the hiring and firing of the management and staff and volunteers of the radio were not the responsibility of the council. He said there were clear guidelines on how to set up the board, and that only the board could hire or fire the manager based on standard procedures. Fofana urged all not to unduly interfere with the editorial content of the station even if they were supporting it financially, and urged staff of the radio to stay away from partisan politics in their work and to also seek the cohesion and peace of the district.
The Public Information Campaign Coordinator of TDS, Abdul Rashid, appealed with the council and the chiefs to help strengthen the radio and not weaken it. He pleaded for financial support towards the running cost of the radio even without attempting to compromise its editorial content.
Since their 3-year mandate has long elapsed, a tentative date of 26 February 2011 was agreed for a stakeholders’ meeting in Kabala to reconstitute the Board of the radio which comprises one representative each from all the ethnic groups in the district, as well as of youth and women.
Other members of the delegation were the SLAJ Northern Region Chairman and the Secretary, Stanley Bangura Jr and Matthew Kanu respectively, and John Campbell representing Independent Radio Network.
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