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Sierra Leone News: The SLBC experiment

Ban-Ki-moon-620x300Ban Ki Moon arrives today at the start of a two day visit to Sierra Leone.
This visit is largely to celebrate 15 years of UN peace keeping and peace building operations in Sierra Leone, which comes to an end on the 31st March 2014.
For the UN there is something to celebrate, and for Sierra Leone we believe there is something to be grateful for. The fact that they (UN) came, they gavetheir all; some died, to give us a new lease of life is something we should be grateful for.
However most people will link Ban Ki Moon’s last visit on 15th June 2010 to the change over from the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) to the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
The view was that there should be a national broadcaster autonomous from Governments overbearing control such that impartial and equal coverage will be given to politicians from all different parties and the ordinary man as well.
However this experiment seems to have fallen flat and it is time that the authorities admit that it is not working.
Playing the blame game as is usual in Sierra Leone, people have started blaming the politicians for not really letting go but rather appearing to let go yet they continue holding the reins.
If this is the overriding claim, then there are others who blame the poor leadership as being most responsible for spoiling the dream.
Whichever way we think that this government must now make a decision on the way forward for SLBS/SLBC.
Would it be practical to just go back to what it was (SLBS) and allow the government to ‘pay the piper and call the tunes,’ or should it continue to be the lie it is and still pose as being a Corporation … which in practical terms it cannot in any shape or form claim to be.
The SLBC were supposed to be self sufficient and paying their own bills by now with minimal support from the Government. This has not happened. With the resources at Leicester peak (renting space on its towers etc worth thousands of dollars) and the massive advertising opportunities open to it as the only real functional and widely watched TV, it is still a mystery why the project is not working.
Therefore, for SLBC to still be going cap in hand begging for salaries to be paid by government means that the project has failed.
We believe that it will be disgraceful for Ban Ki Moon to go back to the project he launched five years ago and see that it has become a failure.
It is now up to the government to do some serious soul searching and re-examine the whole project again.
For us we suggest a complete overhaul of the whole system. Let there be no hypocrisy if no one is comfortable with the Corporation then let it be a government service, at least we will be sure, we know what to expect.
May God help Sierra Leone!
Tuesday March 04, 2014

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