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Personal Media Controversy in Sierra Leone

Personal Media Controversy in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s print and electronic media has become the indelicate barnyard of personal vendetta in the form of vicious personal attacks and foolish political propaganda. From the presidential press team to newspapers associated with the ruling party, the apparent showcase of malevolent vulgarity only goes to emphasize the benighted state of some in the Sierra Leone press.

At a point when some of us are taking steps to harness media amity, others are engaged in subverting the opportunity in place to achieve this. The press is the only entity providing any sense of balance to the all powerful and monopolistic nature of government. When the focus of that responsibility is shifted towards the attack on those who you should work with to bring the government into account, you are left with a situation where the government will be reluctant to set-free the atmosphere of media independence which is needed to provide the data used for decision-making by citizens. A weakened media gives the government room for complacency and it is also an indication of an undeveloped society and is a likely source of instability.

There are no proper guidelines for the media in Sierra Leone to work by. The effectiveness of the current organisation responsible for press relations, The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), has been called into question; as infighting amongst its executive for control of its dysfunctional apparatus have more than often crippled its ability to work as a credible entity.

The Press in Sierra Leone has a responsibility to be the eyes, ears, and voice of the people. In order to function as a real democracy, or even as a moral, rational and socially responsible country all people need to have their voices heard, all people need to be informed about the actions and plans of their government, and the information should be clear and truthful. But how can this be achieved; when those who are ideally placed to execute these responsibilities are more concerned about destroying their colleagues’ reputation to achieve political gain?

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