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Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

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Business News

Financing Sustainable Energy For All : Sierra Leone’s Energy Minister Tells UN It Is Time To Turn TALK Into Kilowatt – Hour

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy and Power, Ambassador Henry O. Macauley , today  called on the United Nations to turn TALK  on financing Sustainable Energy For All into Kolowatt-hour.  Emphasing  that electricity changes lives and noting that “We have a deeper need for this to happen in Africa, and quickly”, Ambassador Macauley stressed the need for speed .

The Minister was addressing  the Second Annual United Nations  Global Energy Ministerial Dialogue on ” Financing Sustainable Energy For All ” presently going on  at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

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Media News

World Press Freedom Day 2015: The MFWA Calls for Professionalism, Gender Equality, and Digital Safety Awareness in the Media

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is observed globally on May 3 in celebration of the importance of press freedom and media independence and pluralism. Today, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) joins the world in commemorating press freedom under this year’s theme: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.” In accordance with the 2015 WPFD theme, the MFWA calls for increased independent, quality reporting by the media; women’s enjoyment of free expression and participation in public life in and through the media; and awareness of digital safety for journalists.

 

Independent and Quality Media

Since last year, the MFWA has regrettably recorded increases in unprofessionalism by the media in West Africa. Decreases in independent and quality reporting negatively impact the public’s trust in the media and consequently hurt the media’s ability to act as a watchdog. Moreover, independent and quality reporting can play a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability. Conversely, unprofessional conduct can facilitate violence and other abuses—especially during election periods, which several countries in West Africa enter this year. The MFWA looks forward to continuing to engage the media on increasing media independence and quality journalism.

 

Gender and Media

Although important strides have been made towards improving women’s participation in public life, obstacles remain to West African women’s ability to both express themselves and participate in governance in or through the media. In Ghana, which has exemplary levels of civil and political rights protections in West Africa, the MFWA found underrepresentation of women as featured individuals, discussants, and moderators and in the share of women’s issues discussed on radio programmes.

Gender balance and equality in a particular media platform’s reports and programmes indicate that it is readily accessible to women. Such gender representation can, in fact, empower women to use the media as a vehicle for seeking, receiving, and imparting information about issues in their community. In turn, this helps promote good and sustainable governance and development. Due to the importance of empowering women, the MFWA has made efforts to increase women’s involvement in and through the media in West Africa.

 

Digital Safety for Journalists

Journalists in West Africa are frequently targeted for their work: they have been brutalised and even killed, threatened, detained, and otherwise silenced both online and offline. In 2014, the MFWA recorded two incidents of digital rights violations—one in The Gambia and one in Nigeria—but due to the more hidden nature of online (as opposed to offline) violations, other unreported violations may have occurred. As internet penetration continues to rapidly grow in West Africa and the rest of the world, it is increasingly important for journalists to engage in digital safety practices to protect themselves from violations of their digital rights. The MFWA has always monitored and reported on safety of journalists, including digital rights violations, and it hopes to see more gains in both offline and internet freedoms in West Africa this year.

 

MFWA’s Recommendations

Given the challenges remaining to achieving independent and quality reporting, balance and equality in women’s representation and participation in and through the media, and effective digital safety measures for journalists, the MFWA makes the following recommendations:

 

To Journalists and Media Houses:

  • Exercise professionalism and high ethics in investigating and reporting.
  • Refrain from spreading indecent campaign language and hate speech through reporting and programming, especially during election periods.
  • Fully and equally integrate women into media programming and newsroom decision-making to achieve gender balance and equality in media representation.
  • Develop a document to help journalists conduct risk assessments related to digital safety.

 

To Civil Society:

  • Capacity-build journalists on standards of professionalism and ethics.
  • Capacity-build women to use the media to engage in public debates.
  • Capacity-build journalists on safety of journalists, particularly digital safety.

 

To Governments:

  • Support professional development of the media through effective frameworks and resource allocation. 
  • Ensure that security forces understand and respect and protect journalists’ rights.
- See more at: http://www.mfwa.org/news.php?article_ID=493#sthash.peBzbRhM.dpuf

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is observed globally on May 3 in celebration of the importance of press freedom and media independence and pluralism. Today, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) joins the world in commemorating press freedom under this year’s theme: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.” In accordance with the 2015 WPFD theme, the MFWA calls for increased independent, quality reporting by the media; women’s enjoyment of free expression and participation in public life in and through the media; and awareness of digital safety for journalists.

 

Independent and Quality Media

Since last year, the MFWA has regrettably recorded increases in unprofessionalism by the media in West Africa. Decreases in independent and quality reporting negatively impact the public’s trust in the media and consequently hurt the media’s ability to act as a watchdog. Moreover, independent and quality reporting can play a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability. Conversely, unprofessional conduct can facilitate violence and other abuses—especially during election periods, which several countries in West Africa enter this year. The MFWA looks forward to continuing to engage the media on increasing media independence and quality journalism.

 

Gender and Media

Although important strides have been made towards improving women’s participation in public life, obstacles remain to West African women’s ability to both express themselves and participate in governance in or through the media. In Ghana, which has exemplary levels of civil and political rights protections in West Africa, the MFWA found underrepresentation of women as featured individuals, discussants, and moderators and in the share of women’s issues discussed on radio programmes.

Gender balance and equality in a particular media platform’s reports and programmes indicate that it is readily accessible to women. Such gender representation can, in fact, empower women to use the media as a vehicle for seeking, receiving, and imparting information about issues in their community. In turn, this helps promote good and sustainable governance and development. Due to the importance of empowering women, the MFWA has made efforts to increase women’s involvement in and through the media in West Africa.

 

Digital Safety for Journalists

Journalists in West Africa are frequently targeted for their work: they have been brutalised and even killed, threatened, detained, and otherwise silenced both online and offline. In 2014, the MFWA recorded two incidents of digital rights violations—one in The Gambia and one in Nigeria—but due to the more hidden nature of online (as opposed to offline) violations, other unreported violations may have occurred. As internet penetration continues to rapidly grow in West Africa and the rest of the world, it is increasingly important for journalists to engage in digital safety practices to protect themselves from violations of their digital rights. The MFWA has always monitored and reported on safety of journalists, including digital rights violations, and it hopes to see more gains in both offline and internet freedoms in West Africa this year.

 

MFWA’s Recommendations

Given the challenges remaining to achieving independent and quality reporting, balance and equality in women’s representation and participation in and through the media, and effective digital safety measures for journalists, the MFWA makes the following recommendations:

 

To Journalists and Media Houses:

  • Exercise professionalism and high ethics in investigating and reporting.
  • Refrain from spreading indecent campaign language and hate speech through reporting and programming, especially during election periods.
  • Fully and equally integrate women into media programming and newsroom decision-making to achieve gender balance and equality in media representation.
  • Develop a document to help journalists conduct risk assessments related to digital safety.

 

To Civil Society:

  • Capacity-build journalists on standards of professionalism and ethics.
  • Capacity-build women to use the media to engage in public debates.
  • Capacity-build journalists on safety of journalists, particularly digital safety.

 

To Governments:

  • Support professional development of the media through effective frameworks and resource allocation. 
  • Ensure that security forces understand and respect and protect journalists’ rights.
- See more at: http://www.mfwa.org/news.php?article_ID=493#sthash.peBzbRhM.dpuf

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is observed globally on May 3 in celebration of the importance of press freedom and media independence and pluralism. Today, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) joins the world in commemorating press freedom under this year’s theme: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.” In accordance with the 2015 WPFD theme, the MFWA calls for increased independent, quality reporting by the media; women’s enjoyment of free expression and participation in public life in and through the media; and awareness of digital safety for journalists.

 

Independent and Quality Media

Since last year, the MFWA has regrettably recorded increases in unprofessionalism by the media in West Africa. Decreases in independent and quality reporting negatively impact the public’s trust in the media and consequently hurt the media’s ability to act as a watchdog. Moreover, independent and quality reporting can play a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability. Conversely, unprofessional conduct can facilitate violence and other abuses—especially during election periods, which several countries in West Africa enter this year. The MFWA looks forward to continuing to engage the media on increasing media independence and quality journalism.

 

Gender and Media

Although important strides have been made towards improving women’s participation in public life, obstacles remain to West African women’s ability to both express themselves and participate in governance in or through the media. In Ghana, which has exemplary levels of civil and political rights protections in West Africa, the MFWA found underrepresentation of women as featured individuals, discussants, and moderators and in the share of women’s issues discussed on radio programmes.

Gender balance and equality in a particular media platform’s reports and programmes indicate that it is readily accessible to women. Such gender representation can, in fact, empower women to use the media as a vehicle for seeking, receiving, and imparting information about issues in their community. In turn, this helps promote good and sustainable governance and development. Due to the importance of empowering women, the MFWA has made efforts to increase women’s involvement in and through the media in West Africa.

 

Digital Safety for Journalists

Journalists in West Africa are frequently targeted for their work: they have been brutalised and even killed, threatened, detained, and otherwise silenced both online and offline. In 2014, the MFWA recorded two incidents of digital rights violations—one in The Gambia and one in Nigeria—but due to the more hidden nature of online (as opposed to offline) violations, other unreported violations may have occurred. As internet penetration continues to rapidly grow in West Africa and the rest of the world, it is increasingly important for journalists to engage in digital safety practices to protect themselves from violations of their digital rights. The MFWA has always monitored and reported on safety of journalists, including digital rights violations, and it hopes to see more gains in both offline and internet freedoms in West Africa this year.

 

MFWA’s Recommendations

Given the challenges remaining to achieving independent and quality reporting, balance and equality in women’s representation and participation in and through the media, and effective digital safety measures for journalists, the MFWA makes the following recommendations:

 

To Journalists and Media Houses:

  • Exercise professionalism and high ethics in investigating and reporting.
  • Refrain from spreading indecent campaign language and hate speech through reporting and programming, especially during election periods.
  • Fully and equally integrate women into media programming and newsroom decision-making to achieve gender balance and equality in media representation.
  • Develop a document to help journalists conduct risk assessments related to digital safety.

 

To Civil Society:

  • Capacity-build journalists on standards of professionalism and ethics.
  • Capacity-build women to use the media to engage in public debates.
  • Capacity-build journalists on safety of journalists, particularly digital safety.

 

To Governments:

  • Support professional development of the media through effective frameworks and resource allocation. 
  • Ensure that security forces understand and respect and protect journalists’ rights.
- See more at: http://www.mfwa.org/news.php?article_ID=493#sthash.peBzbRhM.dpuf

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is observed globally on May 3 in celebration of the importance of press freedom and media independence and pluralism.

Today, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) joins the world in commemorating press freedom under this year’s theme: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.”

In accordance with the 2015 WPFD theme, the MFWA calls for increased independent, quality reporting by the media; women’s enjoyment of free expression and participation in public life in and through the media; and awareness of digital safety for journalists.

Read more...

Commentary

MORE TROUBLE FOR APC IN KAILAHUN

Key stakeholders of the APC in Kailahun have vowed to kick out Sahr Morkuwah and the APC from Kailahun, and return the district back to its traditional SLPP base.

  These key stakeholders this week registered their dismay about the off-hand manner in which they are being treated – especially for being made the laughing stock of both APC and non-APC supporters.

  “We are not wholly angry at the APC,” they said. “But we are angry at Sahr Morkuwah because of the assurances he gave us that the APC is a grateful party, and urging us all to work and vote for the party. Now look at how the party is treating us – as if we are trash.”

Read more...

View Point

NJALA UNIVERSITY IS A MESS

I visited Njala University two years back with the Parliamentary Education Committee, and still remember the camaraderie then between the staff and the deputy vice chancellor. Everyone was congratulating everyone, and is happy to have met the other.

  There was good reason to rejoice – Njala was then and still is, the leading university in Sierra Leone, and even the Education Committee was proud to be a part of the success story, and encouraged them to go for the gold.

But today, two years later, the situation has gone sour; everyone has reached for his sword and is threatening fire and slaughter – with none of them caring about the students caught in this useless crossfire.

Read more...

News - Press Release

Sierra Leone: Ebola regulations and other laws must not be used to curtail freedom of expression and assembly

Sierra Leone should stop using emergency regulations brought in to combat Ebola as a pretext to restrict freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today.

“Now that Ebola cases are reducing and schools have re-opened, the government should immediately review the State of Emergency provisions and ensure that only provisions strictly required to fight the Ebola epidemic remain in effect. Rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must not be unnecessarily or disproportionately curtailed, ’’ said Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher.

The call comes following an increase in arrests of opposition members, bans on peaceful protests and an unwillingness to tolerate dissent that has heightened following the removal of former Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana on 18 March. Even though cases of Ebola have sharply reduced in Sierra Leone, State of Emergency measureshave been increasingly used alongside other laws to stifle criticism, some of whichare thought to be linked to the removal of the Vice President.

Read more...

Society -Local News

Taylor Application to Appeal Decision on his Motion for Transfer to Rwanda Denied

Charles Taylor, the convicted former President of Liberia, will serve the remainder of his 50-year prison sentence in the United Kingdom after RSCSL President Justice Philip N. Waki denied his application to appeal. On 30 January 2015, a special Trial Chamber convened by Justice Waki dismissed Taylor's motion asking that he be transferred to Rwanda where other SCSL convicts have been imprisoned.

In his decision, Justice Waki upheld the Trial Chamber's decision on Taylor's "Motion for Termination of Enforcement of Sentence in the United Kingdom and for Transfer to Rwanda". At the same time, he denied Taylor's "Application to Appeal Decision on Motion for Termination of Enforcement of Sentence in the United Kingdom and the Transfer to Rwanda" filed on 6 February 2015.

The Defence had argued that the wording of Rule 73(B) on interlocutory appeals implied it was applicable to special Trial Chambers empaneled by the President. They argued further that they had met the conjunctive tests of "exceptional circumstances" and "irreparable prejudice" prescribed by the Rule. The Prosecution argued that Rule 73(B) applied only to motions arising in the course of judicial proceedings, and not "in the post administrative designation of place of confinement."

Read more...

Development

Sierra Leone Ambassador to Iran Woos Investors in Turkey

Sierra Leone’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Islamic Republic of Iran and accredited to Turkey and other Asian countries has told Turkish Investors to take advantage of the numerous investment opportunities in West Africa.

His Excellency, Ambassador Dr. Muhammed B. Fofana was addressing investors in the Turkish Black Sea Region of Samsun Wednesday, 13th May, 2015 where he was honoured as Guest Speaker for the West African Countries in an International Conference titled: "The Turkish Investment Partnership and Educational Relations in Africa" organized and hosted by the prestigious Ondokuz Mayis University.

The Ambassador urged the investors to invest in West Africa, while assuring them of a massive turnover on their investments. He said the West Africa Sub – Region as a whole and Sierra Leone in particular offer huge opportunities in the Mining, Agriculture, Energy, Telecommunications, Aviation, Tourism, Infrastructural Development Sectors, among many other investment opportunities.

Read more...

Politics

GUMA BRIEFS COMMITTEE ON WATER RESOURCES

For the purpose of providing sustainable water supply to the residents of Freetown and its environs, the Parliamentary Committee on Water Resources which is chaired by Hon. Sualiho M. Koroma few days ago summoned the management of GUMA Valley Water Company; charged with the exclusive responsibility of providing water for Freetown; at Committee Room 1 in Parliament to give an update on the status of their activities undertaken in 2014.

According to the Chairman, this was the first time the management of GUMA had met with the entire membership of the Committee since it was reconstituted in the third session of the fourth Parliament. He recalled that such engagements last year resulted in an oversight of GUMA’s existing facilities. He also assured the management of GUMA not to feel intimated as the Committee was only performing its oversight function; whose findings and recommendations would be tabled and debated in Parliament for necessary action. He furthered, that the briefing was not meant to witch-hunt anyone, but to sincerely discuss their status report; as MPs had a lot of water related issues in their constituencies in Freetown.

Read more...
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