State House, Freetown, Monday 26 October, 2020 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has met with Commissioners of the Independent Media Commission, IMC, applauded their efforts and urged them to deliver on a progressive media landscape.
Minister of Information and Communication, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, introduced the media regulators to President Bio, noting that he was pleased to facilitate the first such meetings since the board was constituted two years ago.
Chairman of IMC, George Septimus Koryama, expressed gratitude and said he was pleased to report that a commission that was once known as a toothless bulldog was now being referred to as a force for good, adding that the experts appointed to the IMC were doing their jobs diligently.
Chair of the committee on finance, Rev. Fr. Dr. Victor Salifu Suma, said since their appointment they had gone around the country on fact findings, just so that their work would be more thorough.
He disclosed that the media landscape was made up of 327 media houses, of which 130 were newspapers, 165 radio stations and 42 registered television stations, adding that radio remained the most potent means of communication through which people got reliable information.
“Your Excellency, as a commission we are very pleased with the leadership you exhibited in repealing Part V of the 1965 Public Order Act, which once criminalised libel,” Dr. Suma noted.
In his response, President Bio congratulated the commissioners and said he was happy with what they had done so far.
“I am particularly impressed with the quality of human resources in the commission. With that I have no doubt that you will definitely play your roles in the evolutionary history of shaping the landscape of the media in this country,” he remarked.
He observed that a lot had gone wrong in a country that was once admired as the mother of journalism in sub–Saharan Africa, adding that he was, therefore, calling on the IMC to be vigilant in promoting and making the media industry very attractive.
“That is where I want us all to challenge ourselves. We are going to resurrect Sierra Leone and the media landscape. We should do it as a people. Don’t leave that task to me alone, I cannot handle it all by myself. I need each and every one of you,” he urged.
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