From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Journalists Take Over City Streets
By Aruna Turay, Bampia Bundu & Augustine Samba
May 4, 2010, 17:16

Scores of the country’s journalists have walked all around the capital city led by the dynamic President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) as part of celebrations of World Press Freedom day yesterday May 3rd 2010.

Earlier, the SLAJ President had made an appeal to public officials, stakeholders and the general public to respect as he put it ‘the respect of Journalists’ in Sierra Leone. Mr. Fofanah made this call on Monday 3rd May 2010 while addressing Journalists, members of Civil Society Organizations, representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations, Government officials and members of the public at the association’s Campbell Street Headquarters in Freetown to mark ‘World Press Freedom Day.’ The ceremony was climaxed by the official opening of the SLAJ Headquarter offices by the Honourable Minister of Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo.

In his address, the SLAJ President recognized the immense contribution, both material and financial the donor community has been giving towards the promotion of the association. He expressed special thanks and appreciation to the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to Sierra Leone, Michael Schulenburg, the management of DSTV and the Chinese Embassy among others. An instance the SLAJ president cited in that regard is the modernization of the association’s Conference Hall made possible by the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone which he said is open for rent to the general public for press conferences at the modest cost of Le.300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand Leones).

He informed that in a successful meeting held by the association’s executive some few days ago, it was unanimously agreed that the Conference Hall be named after a local journalist, Harry Yansaneh who was brutalized while executing his duty as a journalist. He said proceeds from the rent of the Harry Yansaneh Memorial Conference Hall will be used to augment the payment of rent for the floor occupied by the association.

Mr. Fofana gave an outline of activities in commemorating the World Press Freedom Day by SLAJ. He said on Sunday 2nd May 2010, the association held a thanksgiving service to thank God for what He has done for the association and begged for continuity. He added that prayers were also offered for journalists who have served the association before retiring to the world beyond. He said after the commissioning of the Headquarters on Monday 3rd May, the association will organize a dinner for young journalists, to be followed by another dinner for old, experienced and long serving journalists on Tuesday 4th May. "The whole ceremony will be climaxed with a friendly football match between the print and electronic media practitioners," he further disclosed.

Please see below for Photographs of the day’s event.

Paul Kamara of For Di People and Sylvia Blyden of Awareness Times Newspaper

Some of the country's female journalists having fun and chilling before the programme started

Sylvia Blyden poses with three veteran journalists Mr. Samura of SLENA, Mr. Christo Johnson of Reuters and Mr. Samuel Conteh of New Citizen Newspaper

A cross section of journalists at the jam packed Hall at SLAJ Headquarters

Hon Information Minister Gives his Keynote Address

Minister of Infomation Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo Commissioning the Hall

SLAJ Secretary General Mustapha Sesay Gives Vote of Thanks

Scores of Journalists commencing the walk at Campbell Street

Abibatu, Umaru Fofana, Sylvia Blyden and Rachel Horner Holding Up a Makeshift Banner.

The Walking Journalists walking now at the Cotton Tree Law Courts Area

Journalists walking in front of the Law Courts

Journalists walking along Pademba Road

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.