From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Radio Democracy 98.1 Resumes Transmission Next Week… : Saboteurs threaten Staff and Management
By Bampia Bundu & Mohamed Kanu
Sep 24, 2010, 14:47

It has emerged from very reliable indications that Radio Democracy 98.1 will recommence broadcast next week after a long spell of silence on the airwaves. This was confirmed at a joint press conference of civil society stakeholders and Board members of the radio station held yesterday, 23rd September 2010. However, indications have also emerged that saboteurs are at their best to ensure that the radio station does not come on again by their threats of intimations directed at staff members.


This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Davidson Kuyateh at the joint press conference yesterday. He said the radio station should have started full broadcast today, Friday, 24th September 2010, but according to him some unidentified people are sending threatening SMS messages to some of our staff members not to go to work, which according to him has frustrated the determination in them to resume work to sometime next week.


He however lauded the resilience, determination and commitment of the staff over the years in ensuring that Radio Democracy gets on top of news dissemination in the country and encouraged them to be patient until the time when it is deemed convivial for them to resume work.


He assured that the project for the construction of the radio’s own building will not dissipate while encouraging members of the society to continue donating to the project’s account.


Speaking on behalf  of Sierra Leone Association of Journalist SLAJ, the President Umaru Fofana said the radio station should be able to resume broadcasting in the coming week, adding that in addition to taking back possession of their equipment, the management had been able to temporarily secure a transmitter which should be able to see the radio return on air after almost three months since they were evicted from their studios following a court order emanating from their failure to pay their rent for three years. The management according to Mr. Fofana had argued that the rental was accrued because of a court action which meant the landlady would not allow the rent the station could pay.


The SLAJ president said the United States Embassy had also agreed to provide new equipments for the radio for which he expressed “absolute gratefulness”. He said the radio had raised funds and paid the landlady half of what is owed her with a commitment to pay the rest in four months starting end of October.


The SLAJ President also confirmed that anonymous text messages had been sent to the Station Manager, Hannah Johnson, the Proprietor of Sky Radio who had earlier offered to temporarily house Radio Democracy, and Dr. Julius Spencer who was recently co-opted into the Board.

 

“This is a complete attack on free media,” Mr. Fofana said, adding that SLAJ would do all it could to resist this and other attempts aimed at scaring off journalists from performing their role.



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