The U. S. Embassy has visited Africa Young Voices (AYV) Media Empire and reaffirmed commitment to strategic partnership.
Public Affairs Officer of the U.S Embassy in Sierra Leone, Sarah Van Horne and the Press and Media Coordinator, Alhassan Jalloh during the visit, met with AYV’s CEO Ambassador Anthony Navo Jr., and a cross section of the management and staff of the Company.
Welcoming the visitors, Amb. Navo Jr said:
“We appreciate the long-term relationship with the US Embassy, and we wish to reaffirm our commitment to this special relationship between the AYV and the US Embassy. We are a one-stop multimedia organisation providing a cutting-edge communication solution across the world. AYV offers world-class broadcasting platform and resources for our audiences, from an Africa perspective.
“AYV’s reputation and the strength of its brand are based upon its fundamental values of editorial integrity, independence, and impartiality. We are looking forward to continued cooperation between the Embassy and AYV and if possible, getting training for our staff, especially before, during and after the elections”. He said he is planning to travel to the United States this year to map out ways to establish AYV Headquarters in America. He encouraged the Embassy to support him in seeing the success of this project.
AYV, Amb. Navo Jr. said, takes pride in delivering the best possible media services it can, in line with internationally recognised best practice and regulatory standards, adding that the Company provide a credible voice to people and communities both in Africa and across the world, which makes it the home to both local and global entertainment, educational and cultural programmes.
Chief Operating Officer (COO) of AYV, Messeh Leone, thanked the visitors for coming. He said strengthening the collaboration between AYV and the US Embassy is key at the moment, while calling for the Embassy’s support to AYV with capacity building and training, especially on elections coverage.
“The United States has been a great friend of Sierra Leone, in promoting democracy, peace and development. AYV and the U. S. Embassy share a common objective and are committed to supporting the consolidation of peace, democracy and the conduct of peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections. AYV’s reputation and the strength of its brand are based upon its fundamental values of editorial integrity, independence, and impartiality.
Similar remarks were made by AYV’s Director of Communications/Editor -In-Chief, Samuel Wise Bangura and Director of News and Current Affairs, Amadu Lamrana Bah.
Responding, Sarah Van Horne said she was impressed with AYV’s operations in giving the people of Sierra Leone the information.
She said free independent media is one of the most important things for a democratic society, adding that the media can play an important role and also a damaging role.
She said she was not going to make promises on the request made by the Company, but will surely take back to the Embassy and see what is possible.
She said the Embassy might be able to connect seasoned independent journalists in the U.S to AYV and see where training would be made possible.
She spoke about facilities the Embassy is providing for young people, especially media practitioners, including the YELE project, and encouraged staff of AYV to access the Embassy’s Modern American Center at the Embassy for all reading needs.
She said the library is stuffed with different books, also has computers and free internet for all your research needs.
“All you need is to visit the library is a valid identification card (ID Card) and a jacket if you get cold easily. The library is open to everyone Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm. We also have the Africell American Corner on Bathurst Street, the Kissy American Corner and across the country with the same facilities and books”. Sarah stated.
From a small project, which started with a newspaper and 19 staff, today AYV Media Empire is the largest private media investment in Sierra Leone comprising newspaper, printing press (machines), film production, television stations, radio station and employing over 700 Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad.
It is the only Sierra Leonean owned television station with a broadcasting house in London. As part of its international portfolio, in March 2019, the AYV Media Empire announced a new partnership with the World Service Programme of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in London.
More recently, AYV signed a partnership with Multichoice Africa and launched AYV on the leading Africa channel – DStv channel 399.
The meeting was climaxed with a conducted tour of AYV’s facilities.