Independent Media Commission holds 7th National Media Awards

By Mohamed Konneh:::

The Independent Media Commission has awarded journalists at its 7th Annual awards ceremony Friday 24th May2013 at the Bank of Sierra Leone complex, Kingtom in Freetown. The award ceremony is part of activities in awarding deserving journalists in the country. 27 awards were presented to journalists both from the print and electronic media.

In his welcome address, the Chairperson of the Independent Media Commission Rod Mac-Johnson said this year’s event allows to recognize and reward outstanding journalists, producers, media practitioners among others who have practiced their trade with exceptional zeal and to encourage and inspire them to greater levels of proficiency.

He said the expectation of the public is much more than the usual ‘Inform’, ‘educate’ and ‘entertain’ format. He said the continuous clarion call remains that the media should be fair and refrain from the posture of being a judge and jury at the same time, exhibit impartiality and not allow itself to be bitten by the brown envelope mosquito. Journalists he said owe it to their conscience to right wrongs and not to condone them. Many papers and radio stations during 2012 stand tall to lift the banner of fair play and credibility in reporting events and not tread the path of vilifying people, and go off the rails.


2013 IMC awardees

2013 IMC awardees

‘I stand at attention to those newspaper and radio stations that provide a flashing example of professional journalism, superior oversight and god quality production”, adding that to those that have not passed the litmus test because of poor editorial oversight, copyright infringements, defamation, character assassination, indecent or pornographic writings, “I’ll say change your ways come over to a field where there is much to harvest’, he said.

Mac-Johnson said undoubtedly that the general election in 2012 was challenging for the IMC as it was the first election the Commission went through since it was set up. Months before the pools, it went into a state of preparedness with scale-up monitoring of the print and electronic media, developed many media products, coordinated donor interaction, trained radio programmers for improved electoral coverage, conducted some 17 training workshop on electoral team development and, trained community radio stations boards members as well as how district council personnel should interact with journalists.

Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) President Kelvin Lewis in his statement said the day’s event is about recognizing those who in the year under review have acquitted themselves in the course of their reporting activities in their various institutions. He said this tradition is worth maintaining as it is an enterprise that is inspiring and with the potential to instill ethical and professional discipline in journalists in the course of their reporting of news and issues. The awards ceremony is about celebrating ethical and professional journalism, thus making the profession competitive he said.

The SLAJ President said journalists must not be oblivious of the fact that the media in Sierra Leone stand faced with huge challenges, challenges that are undermining journalistic standards that should portray best practices. ‘As we reward for the best performance in specific types and kinds of writings and reporting in a grandiose ceremony, it should be firm on our minds that it is not sufficient a panacea to heal the negativities for which the media stand accused’, he said.

Kelvin said as an association, Journalists must be aware of responsibility, which is why his administration will focus more on training this time round and opting for specialized training. Kelvin said it is should be made clear that the bulk of this responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the IMC which is the statutory regulatory body for the media in Sierra Leone.

The winners at the 7th Awards ceremony are as follows:

Best Crime and court reporting -Abu Bakarr Kamara

Best Environmental reporting -Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya Standard Times Newspaper

Best Gender issues Mustapha Sesay –Standard Times Newspaper

Best sport reporting Sahr Moris Jr. Concord Times newspaper

Best Agricultural reporting -George Khoiyama Global times Newspaper

Best human right reporting Alusine Sesay-Premier News newspaper

Best Investigative CTN

Best radio station North- Kolenteh Kabala District

Best radio station South- Voice of Women Bonthe

Best radio station East- Eastern Radio- Kono

Best radio station West- Voice of peace and Development Waterloo

Best cartoonist –Ahmed Sahid Nasrala- AYV newspaper

Best Radio Drama George Savage Talking Drum Studio

Best education- Thomas Dixon Salone Times Newspaper

Best SGBV reporting-Abdul Kamara -Punch Newspaper

Best Art and Culture Kemo Cham –Salone Jamborie

Best health reporting –Saidu Bah- Awoko newspaper

Best layout –Standard Times Newspaper

Best Female reporter –Kyzia Gbondo 98.1 FM

Best Economic reporting –Santigie Kamara Standard Times Newspaper

Best political reporting Abu Bakarr Kamara

Best photo journalism- Alusine Sesay Premier News Newspaper

Most outstanding Female professional Asma James 98.1 FM

Most outstanding Male professional Gibril Gotor, MAWOPNET radio Kambia

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