SLAJ Opens Regional Office in Bo City
Freetown – For the first time since it was founded exactly forty years ago this week, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) now has offices simultaneously in all three regions of the country and in the capital, Freetown. It follows an impressive commissioning ceremony on Friday 27 May 2011 of the southern regional headquarters in Bo with funds for the rental and furniture provided by the National Executive.
Like the National headquarters and the regional offices in the Northern city of Makeni and in the Eastern city of Kenema, the offices in Bo, situated on Tikonko Road, provide rooms for affiliate organisations namely the Sierra Leone Reporters’ Union (SLRU), Sports’ Writers Association (SWASAL) and Women in the Media (WIMSAL).
Speaking at the commissioning of the Southern Regional office in Bo, SLAJ President Umaru Fofana said journalists in especially the city should make the best use of the office where they should meet and exchange ideas and read books. He said SLAJ would always stand by journalists in the region if they upheld the values of the profession. “I will wake up in the middle of the night to come here as I have done before if you are attacked in your line of duty, and will defend you with all my might unless when you practice recklessly” he said, assuring that training programmes would be organised shortly for journalists throughout the country including the southern province.
Fofana urged journalists to always seek to be more and more professional and responsible. “Report the facts and always be fair, impartial, apolitical, and always give people their right to reply” he said. He encouraged SLAJ members to pay their dues to their regional executive, while entreating the executive to be accountable and transparent with the use of such funds. He said after the 2-year rental that has been paid for the office, the region should be able to pay subsequent rental with membership dues.
Resident Minister, South, Moijueh Kaikai assured the journalists of cooperation and partnership in nation-building. He said they should identify state or public land in the city to develop for themselves as a permanent office in the city towards which he pledged six bundles of zinc.
The Chairman of SLAJ, South, Samuel Haffner assured that his executive would do all they could to identify a plot of land to start work on a permanent structure in the next one year. He urged his colleagues to take the profession seriously and desist from blackmail or other forms of bad journalism.
The Deputy Mayor of the City, civil society representative and the Anti Corruption regional head all assured of continued cooperation with SLAJ which they described as an organisation that had reasserted itself strategically in the last couple of years.
Later on a dinner-and-dance was held, proceeds from which were donated to the Paul School for the Blind in Bo.
Signed: Ismael Koroma, SLAJ, National Secretary General
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