According to Mr. Marah, Sierra Leone is in a critical time: we have heavy work to do on political tolerance ahead of elections, we have to strive to overcome challenges to return the country to economic viability following the Ebola scourge, we have to renew commitment in tackling corruption and bribery, we must be resilient to get back the health sector at its best, we require dedication, to engineer electricity, and we must be sincere to provide quality education. In this critical situation, I suggest we turn to a critical voice for direction – and that voice is the media.
Mr. Marah was making a presentation on the topic: Critical Times for Critical Minds. He believes that only critical minds can identify corruption happening in MDAs, can speak out on issues of political intolerance, identify gaps in development aspirations, and provide views and analysis towards a path of social cohesion, and sectoral development.
He said the ACC in the South continues to enjoy a good working relationship with the media and is proud of the collaborative role they play in an effort to tackle corruption in crucial Government Departments.
SLBC station manager Bo, Batillo Mattia, pleaded for capacity building for the media in the South in an effort to sharpen their minds to be able to identify critical issues and provide a balanced perspective in the interest of the common man. He said the media is a dynamic profession that requires it practitioners move with the times in terms of technology, education, and training.
Vice President SLAJ- National, Samuel Haffner, said commemoration of Press Freedom Day centers around reminding Government to expunge Part V of the Seditious Libel Laws. He said SLAJ will continue to engage Government–the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and other relevant authorities – to commit itself to developing the media, and decriminalizing media laws.
SLAJ Southern Regional Chairman, Richard Ngevao, said his organization will continue to write the wrongs and extol the good in the South. He said commemoration of Press Freedom Day brought together political and administrative figures including civil society organizations to discuss issues of media development and freedoms of the media. The commemoration also acknowledged and certificated the Chairman of CSOs in the South, the ACC Regional Manager, the Mayor, District Council Chairman, SLAJ Vice President- National, SLBC Manager, and several other dignitaries for their remarkable support to media development in the South.