3rd May, 2010
The Chairperson of the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Mrs. Bernadette Cole has admonished the management of Radio Bintumani not to allow anyone to use the radio station to make derogatory remarks that are likely to infuriate a section of the community and lead to chaos and unrest.
Mrs. Cole was at the head of a three- member delegation from the IMC to Kabala, Koinadugu district to investigate the cause of the recent unrest in Kabala, with a view to discussing the way forward to avoid a repeat.
The delegation which also comprised the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the IMC, Commissioner Francis Davies and Mr. Andrew Koroma, a co-opted member of the Technical Committee held separate meetings with various stakeholders including DISEC which was having its weekly meeting in the district, the Chairman and Chief Administrator of the District Council, Paramount Chiefs and the Board of Radio Bintumani. The team also held a well attended meeting with a cross section of the community at the Kabala Community Centre.
At the end of the deliberations, the team from the IMC described as unfortunate the remarks made by the District Council Chairman, Mr. Peter Conteh on the radio station, which was the basis of the unrest. They added their plea to those of Mr. Peter Conteh who had asked for the forgiveness of the Paramount Chiefs and the community for the remarks made on air, and appealed to the Paramount Chiefs and the community to put the incident behind them.
The recommendations agreed upon at the end of the meeting included the following:
· that the community takes ownership of the radio station and ensure that it has a functioning Board that represents all shades of opinion in the district. The Board should develop policies for the smooth running of the radio station
· that the management of the radio station develops a programme schedule that reflects the interest of various segments of the population including at least ten hours of public service broadcasting per week
· that all programmes must be recorded and kept for at least three months to be made available on demand by the IMC
· that special training be mounted for members of the Board and also for the staff
· that ways and means be found by the Board and the community to source funds to pay monthly salaries to the staff including NASSIT to minimise the tendency for them to compromise the ethics of the profession.
· that the process of reconciliation between the District Council Chairman and the Paramount Chiefs be continued by elders in the district, utilising the traditional African way of settling disputes
· The team commended the IMC monitor in Koinadugu, Mrs. Elizabeth Korio for her timely intervention in the matter and for alerting the IMC about the problem arising from the broadcast.
The delegation took the opportunity to examine the technical parameters on which the radio station as well as other radio stations in the nearby Bombali district operate and counseled them on a number of issues that should assist them to function within the Media Code of Practice.