Sierra Leone's new public broadcasting corporation
The new Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation started broadcasting on April 1st. Its independence has been hard fought by journalists and lawmakers in an effort to create SLBC.
The SLBC is the result of a merger between United Nations radio in Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service.
Septimus Kaikai, chairman of the board of trustees of the SLBC and a former minister of Information, is a guest this week. As a leading member of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party, Kaikai insists SLBC needs at least 24 months before it can start running at full speed. “If people are expecting miracles to happen overnight, that will not happen,” says Kaikai.
Our other guest, Mustapha Sesay, the national secretary general of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, vehemently disagrees with the time frame. He is concerned that the 24 months suggested by Kaikai is too close to the 2012 general elections and might hinder the fair coverage expected from a public radio and TV broadcaster.
SLBC is now funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund. Kaikai says he hopes SLBC will not need government funding and is exploring ways to access a donors' fund. Sesay believes there is too much reliance on foreigners, but is not opposed to funding coming from the government.