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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation & their ďFittest CandidateĒ : I Just Want Professional Media Coverage
By Sylvia O. Blyden
Sep 7, 2012, 17:10
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It appears a certain local tabloid either lacks a basic understanding of written English or is trying to twist my serious concerns expressed for attention of Board of Trustees of Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC). When a professionally managed Television broadcaster reports on a major stakeholder endorsing a presidential candidate as the ďfittestĒ, the broadcaster has to ensure viewers see and hear the major stakeholder uttering those words. The viewers need to listen keenly to the words out of the stakeholderís mouth and make their judgment call.

 

It is very, very unprofessional for a TV broadcaster to cut out a video scene where actual words of ďfittest candidateĒ were supposedly spoken and instead paraphrase what was said. It is not only unprofessional but shameful. It ranks deceit.


The professional way of doing things is what happened when Bill Clinton endorsed Barack Obama. We were shown and heard the precise words of ďbest candidateĒ being uttered. Condoleeza endorsed Mitt Romney and we saw Condoleeza speaking. Nobody paraphrased their words! When Tony Blair endorsed John Major in UK, we heard and saw him speaking. Why should we not be shown former President Kabbah as he speaks out his alleged ďfittest candidateĒ words? Does SLBC expect us to swallow paraphrased reporting of such an important endorsement? What happened on Tuesday night is shameful paraphrasing of an important endorsement.

 

As I said on Wednesday, Pa Kabbah is a die-hard SLPP man and I expect him to support the SLPP presidential candidate but the truth is that we simply did not hear or see Kabbah saying that Julius Maada Bio is ďthe fittest candidate for the 2012 electionsĒ. Only the SLBC news reader said those words! That is a cause for serious concern from a broadcaster that is supposed to be professional.

 

The former President still had his voice intact so I know he did not use Sign Language at Karina to communicate his message. The challenge and onus is now on the Board of Trustees of the SLBC to play the words of the former President as he described Julius Maada Bio as ďthe fittest candidate for the 2012 electionsĒ.

 

No Sorie, I am not angry. I am not out of my senses. I just want professional broadcasting by SLBC; our publicly owned broadcaster. Insulting me to be angry or accusing me of being out of my senses is silly and childish. Just show us a video clip where Pa Tejan Kabbah says Bio is ďthe fittest candidate for the 2012 electionsĒ.

 

Meanwhile, my article of concern has been reproduced below. It is borne of a very genuine concern as elections loom. We cannot have our public broadcaster paraphrasing utterances and feeding out milked versions. If the SLBCís Management is not cautioned now to stem such shameful and unprofessional actions, who knows what SLBC might paraphrase or whom they might misquote on Elections day or whilst we will be waiting for¬† Elections Results? Lonta!

 

A Public Call to SLBC Board of Trustees

 

By Sylvia O. Blyden (in London)

 

Wednesday September 5th 2012: The Ernest Koroma led APC regime has satisfied a lot of its 2007 Campaign promises in the area of Information & Communication achievements and no small thanks go to Hon. Alhaji I.B. Kargbo for these feats. APC has been phenomenal in many areas though Kargbo is clearly wanting in a few others. One area in which APC has been phenomenal is in ensuring Government lets go of control of SLBS and turn it into a Public Broadcaster owned and controlled by the people through their Board of Trustees. Now, even Omolanke drivers should have a say in how SLBC is run. SLBC is owned by me, you and us all. Also, SLBC TV programmes are now being viewed all around the world by satellite. 

 

According to yesterdayís SLBC news item, former President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah has not only endorsed candidacy of his SLPP partyís presidential candidate but the SLBC news reader went on to say Kabbah is claiming Julius Maada Bio is ďthe fittest candidate for the 2012 electionsĒ.

Most unprofessionally, SLBC did not show us actual video clip of the former President saying the words. Pa Kabbah is a die-hard SLPP man and I expect him to support Maada Bio but in the interest of professionalism, the SLBC should have shown us the video clip where Pa Kabbah was saying those words to the effect that Bio is ďthe fittest candidate for the 2012 electionsĒ.


Our former President is a highly respected International Statesman. His words have weight. At home, he is loved, revered and respected by many of us including my humble self. If the former President tells us Bio is much fitter for the presidency than President Koroma then we will start to re-evaluate the high respect we have for President Koroma. This is because Bio is a liar, a thief and a cowardly killer (collective killer if you like) so if Kabbah says such a man is fitter than President Koroma for the presidency, it means Koroma must be a terrible person.

 

Amidst this controversy, the SLBC Board of Trustees, who are representing us the owners of SLBC, as a matter of urgency, should investigate and get SLBCís Director-General to show them a video recording where the former President is making such specific utterances in Karina.

 

In the event that former President Kabbah never made such utterances about ďfittest candidateĒ, the Board of Trustees should then get SLBC Management to issue an immediate apology to us, the owners of SLBC & the viewers, for such clumsy handling of that news item.¬†


Whatever the outcome of the investigations, the SLBC should now ensure that when such an important endorsement is being covered, they show the video and sound of the dignitary as he speaks such pivotal words which have the power to influence a huge chunk of citizenry. Over to the Board of Trustees. I am sure they will also agree that this is a matter of extreme URGENCY and high national IMPORTANCE.


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