I represent the struggle of the ordinary journalist
In a country where journalism is practised simply out of love for the profession and the desire to improve the lives of our people and to expose societal ills among other things, nothing can be more inspiring for the ordinary practicing journalist than seeing one of their own rising to the top.
My campaign, the theme of which is: “Making SLAJ Attractive To the Ordinary Practicing Journalist” intends to provoke the sentiment of the ordinary working journalists to be more committed to SLAJ, the profession and to be conscious of those core values which hold us together as members of the fourth estate in the realm.
Since 1994 I know of no other profession or job except journalism. I have been everything in journalism, from advert agent, reporter, staff writer etc., to Editor of a daily newspaper. I think and feel like the ordinary reporter because I have been through it all.
My candidacy therefore is an embodiment of the struggle of the ordinary journalist who with little or no salary strives relentlessly to contribute to the development of our country.
2011 Election is Very Crucial
The 2011 election is crucial primordially not because the incumbent President is being challenged, but because our votes in Kenema can either make or break the Association. Of all the pressure groups in the country, SLAJ is among the very few that have stoutly refused to be compromised by any political, business and commercial interests. This has been possible due principally to the uncompromising stance of the outgoing President, Umaru Fofanah to whom freedom and civil liberty mean so much.
And if we must continue to resist the temptations of conglomerates, business moguls and politicians, we must have a Vice- President with an unyielding character who can stand against those temptations and maintain the respectability of SLAJ in the absence of the President. I can assure SLAJ members of that if I am elected as your Vice-President.
Another issue which every SLAJ member should think aloud about is: how do we ensure our votes in Kenema will not disinterest (drive away) but attract members to SLAJ.
This is important because I know for sure that the outgoing executive has had to coax some journalists over the years to attend meetings. Some journalists simply attend to SLAJ matters depending on the composition and interaction of the executive. Of the seven executive positions in SLAJ, five of which have already been won (unopposed) are all but one is held by a print journalist, Mr Sayoh Kamara who was returned as Public Affairs Secretary.
Therefore the imbalance in the composition of the executive which is clearly Electronic Media bias must be of utmost concern to all SLAJ members. Attempt must be made to ensure fair representation of the print Media which I proudly represent.
SLAJ is so gender sensitive that already three women in the coming executive representing about 45% have been returned unopposed. The Vice-presidential election therefore is not about gender equality or representation. It is about electing somebody who represents the thinking and feelings of the ordinary journalist; somebody who has the time, energy to work for you; somebody who is sensitive and would readily response to the plights of those journalists who are locked up by police officers on the instruction of a government Minister or brutalised while carrying out his or her legitimate functions as esteemed members of the fourth Estate.
These are the core values that I stand for which I crave your indulgence to vote for me as Vice-President of this noble Association.
Thank you very much for your time
By Sheikh Mustapha Bawoh Vice Presidential Candidate of SLAJ
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