Sierra Leone Newspaper Editors And Station Managers Schooled on Professional Ethics
The entity that regulates the media in Sierra Leone, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), with support from the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, has conducted a one day professional ethics seminar for Station Managers and Newspaper Editors, at the Kona Lodge Hotel in Freetown.
The seminar was conducted on the theme, “Interrogating Media Operations in Sierra Leone: Engaging the Media on Professional Ethics and Standards”.
In his opening statement, the Chairman of the IMC, Dr Victor Massaquoi, referred to the seminar as a timely engagement and informed that the IMC, in its bid to enhance professional development of media practitioners in the country decided to conduct a one day seminar.
He underscored that with the proliferation of Radio, TV and Newspapers and the overabundance of accusations of character assassinations levied at media practitioners in recent years, the need to conduct regular professional communication engagements and expose media practitioners to refresher knowledge is more critical today especially as the country approaches 2023 elections across the country.
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In his statement, the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, extended gratitude to the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone for supporting the conduction of the seminar. He maintained that ethics is to the journalist as profit is to the businessman furthering that some media practitioners have argued that journalism, as a trade, hinges on Freedom of Expression underscoring how such should not be used as an excuse as there are rules to uphold while practicing.
The SLAJ President stated how training programmes, targeting media practitioners, are very important because they serve as reminders of the dos and don’ts in journalism maintaining that such should be continuous.
He argued that media practitioners can only become professionals if and when they uphold ethical standards as such bring out certain values, of which honesty should be outstanding.
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“Public accountability makes ethics very relevant,” he added furthering by admonishing practitioners not to misuse the right to Freedom of Expression to blackmail or distort facts.
The Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China, His Excellency Ernest Ndomaina, express appreciation meeting with members of the Fourth Estate. He informed that the bi-lateral relationship between Sierra Leone and China is mutual maintaining that the two countries will stand together and be each other’s keeper. The Ambassador talked about the need for the media to extol the mutual benefits both countries are enjoying as a result of the mutual relationship.
In his keynote address, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Hu Zhangliang, pointed out how the media shoulders important missions such as telling the truth, promoting public ethics and morality, building social consensus and upholding justice stressing that the media plays an important role in the political, economic and social development of all countries.
He said great achievements have been made in the information sector in Sierra Leone in recent years referencing the abolition of the Seditious Libel Law and the hosting of the first national media investment conference etc..
Pointing out that the Press Freedom Index for Sierra Leone has risen from 75th in the world to 46th ,he also informed that the number of national radio stations in Sierra Leone has increased from 139 in 2019 to 155 now.
He mentioned how the Sierra Leonean media institutions have also made important contributions to the development of China-Sierra Leone friendship and cooperation revealing how some media practitioners have been reporting China and China-Sierra Leone cooperation in an objective and fair manner.
He concluded by reminding all that the value of the media lies in its integrity expressing the hope that media practitioners will continue to report on China and China-Sierra Leone cooperation in an objective, fair, friendly and professional manner, so that the exchanges and mutual understanding between the two sides will be further enhanced.
Climaxing the seminar, different contributions, suggestions and questions were raised by the participant.