The Chairperson of the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Mrs. Bernadette Cole has yesterday November 4th 2008 shed tears and called upon two local journalists, Olu Gordon of Peep! and Paul Kamara of For Di People to please help her save her dwindling reputation as a proponent of sanity in the media.
Bernadette Cole, who was highly emotional as she shed tears, called on Gordon and Kamara to help her inform the public of what she claims actually transpired between herself and Dr. Sylvia Blyden, Publisher of the Awareness Times during a recent abrasive phone call Bernadette Cole made to Dr. Blyden on Blyden’s private Zain telephone line.
Blyden had stated the call was made to abuse her under the guise of "wanting documents", because Cole was upset over Blyden’s publication of role of Cole’s husband, Solicitor-General, Tunde Cole in the infamous Wanza Ojukokoro 75 billion leones wheeler dealer deal.
What is however not clear is exactly what credibility Mrs. Bernadette Cole believes Olu Gordon and Paul Kamara have as against the Awareness Times Newspaper. For example, as can be seen in our edition today, it is not unusual to have Press Releases issued against false publications by Olu Gordon and Paul Kamara. Turn to Page 11 of this edition and on it is a Press Release from the Pharmacy Board/Health Ministry. Another Release from the Judiciary/Office of the Chief Justice is on Page 2. The two Releases were borne out of a need to correct public misperception caused by false and misleading news by these two men. These are the two journalists whom the IMC’s Bernadette Cole wants to plead a case for her to the public.
Cole made the passionate appeal during a hastily convened meeting called by the IMC’s Complaints Committee to which Sylvia Blyden, Paul Kamara and Olu Gordon were invited. Dr. Sylvia Blyden, who was out of Freetown when the last minute invitation was sent to her, rushed down to Freetown late yesterday afternoon, so as to honour the invitation of the IMC; only to arrive and meet a Spanish-like Inquisition set up during which Mrs. Bernadette Cole, Commissioner Isaac Massaquoi and Olu Gordon reportedly took turns at hurling insults at her; insults which, to her credit, Blyden refused to throw back at them but instead decided to just cut short her presence at the IMC by declining to continue to honour the IMC’s invitation yesterday.
"If you have an issue with me, then summon me and I will come with my lawyers but don’t invite me here to insult me in your personal capacities," Sylvia Blyden told the meeting before she walked out of the IMC’s shameful Insult-Throwing Parade.
Earlier, after Mrs. Cole asked Paul Kamara and Olu Gordon to help her save her name, Paul Kamara opined that the contents of the discussions of the meeting was to be considered privileged conversation to which Olu Gordon retorted, "Speak for yourself; I am now going to continue to insult her."
His gleeful promise of publishing insults against Blyden received the tacit acquiescence of Bernadette Cole, the Chair of IMC who it would now appear has lost her objectivity and was allowing her emotions to rule her actions. Shedding bitter emotional tears after she had screamed out her insults at a very calm and composed Sylvia Blyden, Mrs. Bernadette Cole ran out of the IMC's Conference Room into a nearby bathroom where she was heard weeping.
It will be recalled that Blyden recently turned her pen on the IMC in an eye-opening article which exposed and laid bare the inadequacies and ineptitude of the IMC under the leadership of Mrs. Bernadette Cole. Blyden, who rarely unveils the full potential of her penmanship, was recently forced to set up a strategic defense for herself when it became clear that the IMC was not going to protect her as she carried out her sacred duties of informing the Nation about issues pertinent to the general public. This included the publication for public consumption of regular bizarre acts of Tourism Minister Hindolo Trye whilst in mid-air onboard planes.
Refusing to be fazed by all sorts of intimidating tactics employed to derail her mission of informing the public, Sylvia Blyden steadily plodded on with the publication of materials relevant for the public to know about; such as the public urination on himself and the violent behaviour of Hindolo Trye that led to him having to be forcibly restrained, (like a wild bush hog), in the presence of the returning mission of top IMF operatives to Sierra Leone and hundreds of foreigners on the flight. It was a real shame and disgrace to the country that certain people did not want Sierra Leoneans to ever know about.
This had not gone down well with Trye who proceeded to hire his media pals to attack Blyden with material that ran contrary to the IMC’s Code of Practise for licensed newspapers. The Bernadette Cole headed IMC kept mute as Hindolo Trye’s mercenaries carried out their offensives. As a result, an unfazed Blyden then proceeded to publicise the ineptitude of the IMC in allowing what was supposed to be strictly prohibited pornography to repeatedly be published in newspapers hired by Hindolo Trye to inflict what Trye had openly threatened would be "grave consequences".
However, going by the passioned appeal by Bernadette Cole who burst into tears and ran into a bathroom at the IMC, it is clear that the "grave consequences" might have missed their desired "enemy" target and instead boomeranged into "friendly territory".
Meanwhile, Sylvia Blyden has also advised the ruling APC party’s editorial team to realize that they were no longer in Opposition but as the Government of the day, the APC Editorial Team should learn to seek high moral grounds.
This advise followed a highly chauvinistic publication by the APC mouthpiece, We Yone Newspaper, which had warned Blyden that, in their words, "as a woman", she could never hope to win a public battle "against a man" especially powerful men like Government ministers. The We Yone Newspaper article had then proceeded to call upon Blyden to go and "beg for a ceasefire" so the publication of naked pornography could cease. Clearly, it was obvious the author was too stupid to see that the entity suffering the most damage from the ongoing saga was certainly not the highly popular Sylvia Blyden but the APC regime itself with its urinating Tourism Minister.
"Let the APC go and do some more research into who Sylvia Olayinka Blyden is; I don’t like battles but if you repeatedly push me to the wall and I make a decision to start striking back, I do not hold prisoners nor am I afraid of controversy. If they think it is wise to most unfairly take me on in a public media showdown for simply doing my job of informing and educating the public, let us proceed and see who will lose and who will win the exchange of ideas. Will it be Sylvia Blyden of Awareness Times or the Ernest Koroma led All People’s Congress? We will see," she promised.
Sylvia Blyden ended by opining that she was sure Mrs. Bernadette Cole, who spoke derogatory words over APC Radio against Awareness Times, in a failed bid to launder the seriousness of nasty pornography by Hindolo Trye’s pals, must be having second thoughts already about the wisdom behind her very unfair utterances against Awareness Times; utterances which were Cole’s response to citizens’ concerns made during the APC Radio’s "On Target" Live Programme which was aired on the night of Friday October 31st 2008.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.