A snap shot extract from – the Africa Young Voices publication of
May 3 2012.
Members of the Association of Journalists (SLAJ) organized a lecture to mark this year’s Press Freedom Day on fundamental Human Rights, International guarantees, lessons and challenges of practice. The lecture was supported by BBC Media Action – Sierra Leone.
As BBCMA/JHR trainer, I was privileged to be one of the panelists who facilitated the discussions which hinged on elections and fundamental principles and rights. My fellow panelist was Mr. Tonya Musa, lecturer of Mass Communications Department, Fourah Bay College in Freetown. The lecture also drew a large number of Sierra Leonean journalists who took active part in the events that preceded the lecture.
Among a myriad of issues we discussed, we called on journalists to be aware that in as much as they have a role to play in the November 17 elections, they should also recognize the role of other stake holders like the Sierra Leonean Police, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the political registration Commission (PPRC) as crucial players in the electoral activities and that it’s incumbent on journalists to support them achieve their objectives.
A lot of issues also came up for discussion and contentious among them was the issue of media houses coming out to champion the cause of politicians, there by abusing their obligation as journalists. We called on practitioners to continue to sensitize the people to enable them understand the electoral process, the Biometric system of registration and elections.
On their part, journalists expressed the challenges they face in their news rooms as regards election reporting. The session ended with a call on journalists to endeavor to cover elections campaign and voting process as they are the beginning of nations building process with a fair amount of objectivity, impartiality and transparency.