AS another year ends and we move into a New Year, the COCORIOKO online newspaper wishes to extend its most heartfelt felicitations and wishes of God’s blessings and long lives to all our readers, sponsors, fans and supporters. We pray that God will grant you all the desires of your heart this year , according to his benevolent will.
It has been another storming success for COCORIOKO in 2006 when our daily readership exceeded 4,000 according to statistics provided by HOMESTEAD, our hosting company. Our online newspaper is now being read in every corner and crevice of the world where there is a computer and we have become one of the most reliable and the most authoritative source of news from Sierra Leone, as expressed by enthused readers, whose encouraging letters we will resume publishing now that we have space for them.
As Sierra Leone prepares for General Elections this year, we have given the most extensive coverage imaginable to all political parties , especially those whose leaders came to the U.S. on sensitization tours. Enduring sleepless nights battling our often uncooperative website as we seek to upload volumes of pictures, at times sent without being cropped , and post lots of articles, we gave total and authoritative coverage to the visit to the UK and the USA of Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) Presidential candidate , Mr. Solomon Berewa , Mr. Ernest Koroma of the All People’s Congress ( APC) and Mr Charles Margai of the People’s Movement For Democratic Change ( PMDC). All three candidates, who put up a fascinating performance in the diaspora, praised COCORIOKO for the coverage provide them and the SLPP New York Branch gave us an award for “Outstanding Journalism, unlimited community service, prolific writing , unbiased reporting and outstanding leadership qualities. “.We are proud of this award because it comes from a party we had been unsuccessfully maligned as being antagonistic to, in our coverage. We are delighted that members of the Grand, old Party of Sierra Leone now recognize us as a factor for democratic and fair journalism. We hope to render more professional services to all the parties as we go into one of the most important years of Sierra Leone’s chequered political history.
COCORIOKO also succceeded in providing our readers DEVELOPMENT NEWS as provided by our Assistant Editor, Joseph Seidu Sherman and Sierra Leone -based reporters Joseph Kamanda, Olu Faulkner and Sorieba Kalokoh ( Who is based in Bo ).All three men have a niche for DEVELOPMENT JOURNALISM, as indicated especially by Kamanda’s profuse coverage of development-oriented workshops, seminars and conferences being held by stakeholders , Non-Governmental Organizations and the government in Sierra Leone.
COCORIOKO has also provided much-appreciated coverage of news in Liberia and Nigeria , with the result that we are listed by some International organizations providing links to the sources of African news as a provider of information on Liberia, while Nigeria’s MASTERWEB lists COCORIOKO as one of the foreign news portals enjoyed by Nigerians, after a research on which websites are loved most by Africa’s most populous nation.
We can go on and on and on. We could not have come this far, though, had it not been for your wonderful support, you our precious readers, fans and supporters. Your support to us is highly appreciated and we want to promise you that in 2007 we will go all out to continue to live up to your expectations. We also want to assure you that this year, of all years, the print version of COCORIOKO will be available in Sierra Leone and America by the Grace of God Almighty. .
As a nation, Sierra Leone achieved some indelible milestones in 2006. Peace has been consolidated . For a nation that six or or so years ago seemed to be on the verge of self-destruct , with the most bloody internecine conflict in the history of man , the spirits of reconciliation and peace that prevail in Sierra Leone today are marvellous and our people deserve to be pat on their backs for their commitment to put the past behind them and move on to better spheres. We must also be honest to say that the winds of democracy are blowing favourably now across our nation. Compared to yesteryears, Sierra Leone can today boast of a society where men and women are more free to express their feelings verbally and in print. We praise the Kabbah government for allowing all kinds of newspapers to operate in the country, some of them bitter towards government . When you consider what obtained during the inglorious days of the late President Siaka Stevens and Agba Satani S.I.Koroma, we think that this SLPP government deserves kudos for its tolerant attitude to freedom of speech .We hope the government will work with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists ( SLAJ), the only recognized press union in Sierra Leone, to repeal our archaic and anti-progress press laws.