Aside the usual self-mockery of themselves as occurred yesterday May 10th 2011 at the IMC when a Letter invited a complainant to a 15:45GMT meeting that was slated to commence much earlier, the IMC and Bernadette Cole have chosen to entertain the public with some sublime self-mockery. I have been observing with great amusement, the public relations job that Mrs. Bernadette Cole and her woefully-led IMC, are fighting to undertake in recent days, so as to gain some credibility in their twilight days; days they might possibly wish to become extended if given the slightest opportunity.
If information flowing into our newsrooms is anything to go by, it appears some people just do not understand that when it is twilight, they must say farewell and leave. It seems that just as Bernadette Cole is content to publicly subject herself to mockery by insisting that she has been doing a good job at the helm of the IMC so also are some people thinking they can mock Sierra Leoneans by pushing for an extension of tenure of Bernadette Cole beyond her mandated two terms.
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When a journalist recently wrote that Bernadette Cole wanted to have her term extended beyond the mandated two terms, many of us initially thought it was a pre-emptive strike to ensure she did not even think about it!! It was only recently when a certain source of mine within the United Nations revealed to me that certain United Nations personnel were seeking to lobby to have Bernadette Cole’s tenure extended beyond the two-terms that I realised that indeed there is no smoke without fire.
I am now informed that UNDP’s Resident Representative Mia Seppo was one of the ‘Judges’ of the Women of Excellence Awards. Could the awarding of Bernadette Cole, a woman not befitting of such an award, have been the brainchild of Mia Seppo as a prelude to retaining Bernadette Cole beyond her two terms? Hmmm. Hmmmmm Hmmmmmmmmm.
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Anyway, Mia Seppo or no Mia Seppo, I believe no sincere ‘international community’ actor can look on the disgrace that has blighted this country’s media landscape since Cole was put in charge of Media regulation and try to tell us that Cole’s tenure must be extended. If they do, we will ensure the world then knows that these international actors are up to an as-yet-hidden agenda to ensure chaos prevails in this country through unscrupulous criminals being used as agents in the media.
However, I do not really blame them as it appears that certain people whose stated ages differ on various job documents whether at the University or at other Institutions do not seem to understand that when it is time to go, one must pack and go!
Anyway, let us go back to the issue at hand. In the past few days, Bernadette Cole has spent a lot of time trying to justify her Mockery of Excellence award whilst also trying to burnish credentials that are so tainted, not even anti-rust spray can help to restore them.
The reprehensible manner in which Cole has led the IMC and Media Regulation in Sierra Leone can produce material for several sessions on how not to regulate a country’s Media. It is truly a sheer mockery of the definition of ‘excellence’ for Bernadette Cole’s tenure at the IMC to be equated to ‘excellence’. Mrs. Bernadette Cole cannot even run a simple administration. As of yesterday May 10th 2011, her administration was still shamefully bungling up Letters they send out to Media Houses like the mockery they made of themselves yesterday when they invited a complainant, in black and white, to a 15:45GMT Hearing that was to have commenced much earlier. The offending journalist turned up only to find no complainant and leave. The complainant turns up ‘on time’ but the journalist had by then gone home. Funny ehn? Well that is vintage Bernadette Cole’s IMC for you!
Yesterday’s bungle was no rare occurrence. IMC Letters are always mis-delivered or mis-directed or simply disappear off the face of the earth. Cole’s Administration has been marked by jumping from one bungle to another.
Speaking of bungles, the Organisers of the recent Women of Excellence Awards had a lot of unfortunate gaffes in the manner in which they organised the events; not least their award of Bernadette Cole for ‘excellence’ in Media Regulation. Their recent paid-for publications with a lot of blank spaces under ‘Nominees’ speaks volumes of the disorganised manner in which they conducted the selections and they would now do well for themselves to quietly reflect on how they conducted the impugned event rather than prolong their embarrassment and drag on the disgraceful morass within which they have found themselves.
No Award, No Public Relations, No paid-for newspaper placements and certainly no self-praising Radio interviews can erase the fact that Bernadette Cole’s tenure at the Independent Media Commission has not been excellent. In my opinion, Bernadette Cole’s tenure has been spiteful; it has been shameful; it has been disgusting; it has been woefully inadequate despite all the monies collected from the United Nations and Donors but it has certainly not been excellent. Awarding Bernadette Cole for ‘excellence’ in Media Monitoring will continue to remain a disgraceful blight on Isha Johansen’s (Tejan-Cole) otherwise laudable concept of Excellence.
And speaking of monies from the United Nations, it will be good if Bernadette Cole could also speak of how the sum of an approximate equivalent of Three Hundred and Fifty Million Leones she signed for, in dollars, on March 11th 2010, was spent. Le350,000,000.00 is a huge chunk of money in this day and age of Kabbah Tigers and Koroma Lepets.
Bottom-line, can I please once again inform Mrs. Bernadette Cole that her tenure at the helm of the Independent Media Commission has been a huge disgrace especially to the Cause of WOMEN who needed her, as a fellow woman, to do the right thing by them. Never before in the History of Media Regulation has a photomontage of a stark naked woman and another person’s head been severally allowed to be published without any form of reprimand simply because of a personal grudge borne by the one at the helm of Media affairs. This is why Bernadette Cole being awarded a ‘Woman of Excellence’ medal is a continuing disgrace which we have now recorded into the annals of Sierra Leone’s History.
This year’s Women of Excellence Awards night was slurred and soiled by the award of Mrs. Bernadette Cole’s alleged ‘excellent’ role in media regulation. What an utter shame and disgrace that will remain to be – public relations exercises notwithstanding. A real shame! A real disgrace Mrs. Bernadette Cole!
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.