Today I write again about the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Sierra Leone’s media regulator. The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) which is usually on the side of media practitioners, recently damned the Sierra Leone media. They expressed concerns over increasing incidents of lawless and uncouth behaviour by the local media. They cited “increasing” number of indecent actions by media houses that resulted in fines. Well, the truth is there is actually no increase in the indecency. What had been happening for almost a decade now in Sierra Leone was a media left to run amok by a most useless bunch of media regulatory IMC commissioners.
Articles today that have now rightfully resulted in reprimands, used to be accepted as ‘normal’ under past IMC commissioners.
In so far as sanitising the media landscape was concerned, former IMC Chairperson Mrs. Bernadette Cole was there for donkey years as a virtually useless piece of ‘human furniture’ adorning the media regulator. After Cole left her position, she was hailed by her puppets and few guttersnipes who had hijacked this country’s media landscape; however Posterity and History will tell a different story about her tenure at IMC. That Cole woman was just plain useless at restoring confidence in the media. Under her leadership of the IMC, the country sank to its lowest ever form of journalism! She looked the other way as the country sank in a sordid swell of murky journalism. The records speak for themselves! I don’t need to elaborate on her uselessness. History will damn her uselessness!
In the past, at any time Bernadette Cole and her useless clique of commissioners were chastised for failing to improve on the country’s horrible media landscape, they would give an excuse that Independent Media Commission did not have enough legal powers to discipline the media. They were lying through their teeth!
They had all the powers to help this country in the sensitive post-war years but shamefully, they just did not choose to use the powers; for reasons that historians will uncover sooner than later. Trust!
IMC Commissioners lied that they had no powers so as to cover up their evil omissions! The reality is that Bernadette Cole and her crew were just grossly incompetent, useless and unfit for purpose insofar as cleaning up a media she had presided over its destruction! She was just a part of the post-war facade that had hijacked and placed themselves at the forefront of the media in this our beautiful country.
Then came Rod MacJohnson. Appointed to replace the hapless, inept Bernadette Cole, many had been hopeful he would improve on the media especially after he got a specially created deputy position given to be held by a female lawyer called Hannah Ahmed. However, both Hannah Ahmed and Rod Macjohnson disappointed this country.
What a shame their tenure also turned out to be! They continued to preside over utter uselessness at the IMC.
So still with the same nonsense crew of Commissioners left behind by Bernadette Cole to end their tenure, this country suffered untold wrecking of our social fabric as journalism went to the dogs! A most ironical aspect was when the IMC would call up some of the worst perpetrators of tasteless journalism and award them with plaques and trophies. It used to be so nauseating! In the midst of the morass, they would give awards to each other and tap themselves on the back as helpless citizens suffered nonsense unabated in local media.
Eventually President Koroma was able to realise Posterity will blame him if he did not do something about the IMC. So the President bravely arraigned what has turned out to be a fine line-up of commissioners of IMC. Indeed, Daniels have come to judgement at the IMC!
Under chairmanship of astute Lawyer Allieu I. Kanu and with a more focussed and legally minded Complaints Committee, the IMC has been using the very same legal powers and authority that the unfit-for-purpose Bernadette Cole & Rod Macjohnson teams had said were inadequate. Our new IMC commissioners are awesome! Within just a few months, the local media landscape is now relatively sanitised. The fines are what MFWA noted with mistaken belief there is a rise in indecent journalism. There is no rise! This nonsense has been here all along! Only that this time, it is being successfully tackled.
Indeed there is success but there is still a lot of debris and significant garbage to remove in ‘mopping up operations’ to clean up the media.
To end, I can’t say anything else other than to continue to praise and thank the new team of Commissioners at the Independent Media Commission. Long may their style continue! Somebody help me to say Amen.
Amen and Amen!
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.