The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) used to be one of the best sources of credible and objective information about Sierra Leone, though allegations of partiality and negativity towards African issues have always dogged the institution. Their flagship programs NETWORK AFRICA and FOCUS ON AFRICA gave various Sierra Leone Governments, led by Sir Albert Margai, Brig. A.T. Juxon-Smith, Dr. Siaka Stevens, Gen. Joseph Saidu Momoh , V.E. M .Strasser and Pa Tejan Kabbah–a fair chance in the past . Though the views of opposition and contending forces were always aired, the BBC always provided a parallel opportunity for the government’s side to be heard.
Thanks to the excellent journalism in those days by professional and ethical presenters like Hilton Fyle, Elizabeth Ohene, Chris Bickerton , Elizabeth Blunt, etc who looked on both sides of the spectrum, listeners all over the world were given a fair picture of what was happening in Sierra Leone.
However, since Umaru Fofana became the BBC Correspondent in Sierra Leone, after taking over from another biased pro-SLPP journalist, Victor Sylver, it appears as if there is only one version of news in Sierra Leone today — the perspective of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ).
When the BBC news today is not dressing President Ernest Koroma in the robes of the archetypical African dictator or conman, the government is being molded into the “same-old, same-old” Western media stereotype of African governance as a platform for incompetent, unlearned and corrupt African rascals . Civil disobedience, protests and demonstrations are always glamorized as fitting acts of patriotism by citizens against their government that keeps failing them, with no mention made ever about more vibrant pro-government counter-demonstrations by the same citizens that shows that there is a positive angle to the strife . Nor is any opportunity provided government functionaries and supporters to refute or debunk the false allegations against the President or government.
Umaru Fofana is a pro-SLPP fanatic with a morbid dislike for the ruling APC. In fact, if the SLPP had won the 2012 elections, Fofana would have been appointed the Minister of Information and Communication.
The Western media always thrive on negativity and falsehood when it comes to the coverage of African issues and the Umaru Fofanas, who delight in feeding the world negative and distorted stories about their countryn fit the bill.
However, we hope the BBC realizes that it owes its millions of listeners all over the world a duty to be impartial, fair and objective.
They must not allow Umaru Fofana to turn the BBC into an anti- APC bashing outfit and an SLPP propaganda machine. They must crosscheck every story sent by Mr.Fofana to ensure that his stories satisfy the standards of fairness, impartiality and objectivity . This is absolutely necessary owing to the fact that many Sierra Leoneans are losing faith in the credibility of the BBC because of the one-sided reports about Sierra Leone from Umaru Fofana .
There are two sides to any story and the world needs to hear the Sierra Leone Government’s version of the stories from Sierra Leone .