From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

NEWS
As Sylvia Blyden Educates SLBCís Ag. D/G on his Limitations ; State House did Phone The SLBC Team
By
Aug 13, 2010, 17:12

The respected SLBC Board Chair, Prof. Septimus Kaikai
Publisher of Awareness Times, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, has, in a letter dated today August 13th 2010, educated the acting Director-General of SLBC on the limitations of his duties insofar as the fact that he could not speak, without authority, on behalf of the Chairman or Members of SLBC Board of Trustees.

She also informed him that in a telephone conversation she held with SLBC Board Chairman Professor Septimus Kaikai on Saturday August 7th, 2010 at precisely 15:10GMT using her telephone that has full voice-recording capacity, the esteemed Board Chairman, Professor Septimus Kaikai, who is a man of Integrity, had confirmed to her over the phone that SLBC indeed received phone calls from State House with specific requests for a Live SLBC Programme, Blyden had been participating in on July 31st 2010, to be interrupted so ĎState Houseí could make input into it. The text of Blydenís Letter to SLBCís Ag. D/G and the D/Gís own Letter are below.


 

FROM THE DESK OF

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
17 Garrison Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone

TO: Mr. Patrick Tarawalli
Acting Director General,
Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation
New Englandville, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Friday August 13th 2010.

Dear Sir,

RE: AN OBSERVATION ABOUT A WORRYING DEVELOPMENT OF SUSPECTED NEFARIOUS STATE INTERFERENCE IN THE OPERATIONS OF THE NEWLY LAUNCHED INDEPENDENT PUBLIC BROADCASTER IN SIERRA LEONE.

I am in receipt of your Letter dated Thursday August 12th 2010 on the above topic which was a response to mine of Wednesday August 11th 2010. I must say I am rather bemused by your Letter.

Firstly, your belated Public Apology for not rebroadcasting the July 31st 2010 Programme in which I participated, is here noted but surely you recall that aside the United Nationís Peace Building Fundís huge cash input into SLBC this year, an additional US$2,000,000 (TWO MILLION DOLLARS) of Citizensí money was announced by Information Minister, Hon. I.B. Kargbo, to have been spent by Government this year to purchase broadcasting equipment for SLBC. So, your rather glib reason of "technical problems...that most broadcasting organisations experience every now and then" is most unacceptable! If after spending 2 million dollars Plus U.N. funding, we cannot get a reasonable technical explanation as to why that July 31st 2010 Programme was unprecedentedly not re-broadcasted, then Citizens are being short-changed!!! Sir, did we get value for our US$2,000,000???

Secondly, you seem to be under an illusion about possessing powers you were not granted by the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation Act No. 1 of 2010. Please be educated that you, as Director-General of SLBC, although an ex-officio board secretary, have no powers to take it upon yourself to speak on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the SLBC. Rather, PART IV, Section 13.(3) of the Act clearly delineates and limits your functions. Whilst Section 13.(3)(d) grants the Board the powers to assign you other responsibilities, I am 100% certain that neither the Chairman, Professor Septimus Kaikai nor the Board has granted you permission to speak on their behalf in this particular matter I have raised in writing specifically for the attention of the Board as an entity.

I am thus certain because the contents of your assertions, purportedly on behalf of Professor Septimus Kaikai, are woefully misinformed. So clearly, the esteemed Professor could not have been the source of your erroneous assertion that no-one from State House called up the SLBC.

You see, last Saturday (August 7th 2010), at precisely 15:10GMT, using my Zain phone with voice-recording capacity, I called up Professor Septimus Kaikai on his Zain phone line and spoke to him for a grand total of 6 minutes and 16 seconds. The thrust of my call was to put my initial findings to him that my sources had revealed to me that after the Management team of SLBC had refused to allow someone from State House to interrupt me Live over the air, Professor Kaikai was telephoned at his home and he had given a go-ahead for the programme to be interrupted.

The good professor, being a man of "high personal probity", as called for in Part II, Section 3(2) of the SLBC Act, did not attempt to mislead me by saying no-one contacted him which you have unabashedly and most unfortunately now done. Instead of playing word games with me, Prof. Septimus Kaikai confirmed the information I relayed back to him but then he explained that his intentions had been to allow State House to be given a chance to have their own side aired as against my own position on the issue of the appointment by President Koroma of Dr. Christiana Thorpe.

Professor Kaikai stated to me that he gave the go-ahead for the interruption in what he believed to have been in the interest of fairness to State House. Professor Kaikai explained to me last Saturday that on his insistence for State House to be given a chance to interrupt and counter my words, he was told by the SLBC Team on duty that it was, "a programme of journalists" discussing issues which programme contents was usually not to be interrupted.

I listened keenly to his explanation and then I informed Prof. Kaikai that I was not satisfied with the situation and that I would be writing to complain to both the Management and the Board about the situation. He responded that he would be on standby for my Letter of Complaint. I assume he has now received the Letter and the Board would deliberate on it and as the Trustees for the Public, will give this topical public matter, the urgent seriousness it deserves.

In light of this above information, you will agree with me that in the process of you usurping the anticipated response from the Chairman and Members of the SLBC Board of Trustees, you have seriously misinformed the Public that no call came in from State House!!! If, you as an individual did not receive a call from State House, does it mean that no other member of your Management Team received such a call for State House to interrupt my words? Sir, surely you do not mean to exhibit to the Public that you are incapable of knowing what happens within your Management team because I am hereby assuring you that just as was confirmed to me by the Chairman of your Board over the phone last Saturday, a certain member of your Management Team on duty that Saturday July 31st 2010 did receive a call from State House. Please go back and exercise your duties properly to find out more on this issue.

Finally but very importantly, I dont understand where you got the perception that I said it was Chairman of SLBC Board who instructed for the Programme not to be re-broadcasted. I assume you are comfortable in your comprehension of written English and so I respectfully urge you to please go back and read my initial Letter addressed to the Board and Management of the SLBC and you will realise that you owe me yet another apology; this time, not for heading an SLBC that could not rebroadcast my words but for expressing such a misunderstanding of my stated words.

Meanwhile, given your own woefully inadequate response on behalf of SLBCís Management, I and a significant section of the Public now eagerly await the official response from the Board of Trustees of SLBC to the issues posed. We want more specifics on the ĎTECHNICAL PROBLEMSí affecting U.N. Peace Building Fundís financed Equipment backed by an additional Government purchased Brand New Two Million Dollars Broadcasting Equipment. We urgently need this information so as to reassure us & allay our doubts over the independence of SLBC viz-a-viz suspected State House interference.

Yours Faithfully,

Sylvia Olayinka Blyden (Dr.)

CC: Chairman & Board Members of SLBC
CC: Secretary to H.E. the President.
CC: ERSG Michael Schulenburg/United Nations.



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