By Siraju Bah:
The newly appointed Chairman, Unisa Sesay and his colleagues Commissioners in the Information Commission on Wednesday October 8th this year paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu with a view to familiarize themselves with staff of their supervising Ministry and to further build the confidence of the Ministry about their determination to enhance the concept of the access to information in the country.
Receiving the Delegation, the Information and Communications Minister, Alhaji Alpha Kanu congratulated the Chairman and his colleagues on their appointment and encouraged them to give credence to the democratic institution and further enhance the effectiveness of the flow of information to the public.
Minister Kanu further indicated that the Government of President Koroma believes in the role the media plays in a democracy and that the flow of information would further enhance the democratic credentials of the country. “It is in this vein that the Government views journalists as partners in development, and therefore would continue to create the enabling environment for them to practice the profession without any let or hindrance. Sierra Leone is among the few countries that can boast of having over 52 radio stations and about 36 functioning newspapers currently operating in the country”, Minister Kanu who doubles as Government spokesman said.
Commenting on the role of the Information commission in a democracy, Minister Kanu reiterated that media landscape in the country is being overseen by the Independent Media Commission, an Independent Institution created by an Act of Parliament to ensure that media practitioners perform their duties in line with the prescribe code of the Media Code of Practice in order to enhance sanity in the field of journalism.
Alhaji Alpha Kanu noted that the Government has long adopted the principles of the Open Government Partnership adopted by the US President, saying that the OGI is the brainchild of President Koroma and was later adopted by the US President with a new nomenclature called Open Government Partnership OGP.
Assuring the Chairman and his Commissioners of the Ministry’s unflinching support, the Minister implored them to work very hard to enhance the credibility of the Commission saying that it’s a very powerful institution that has the mandate to enter into any government institution to seek information.
After stating the purpose of the visit, the Chairman of the Commission Unisa Sesay assured the Minister of his determination to fully perform the functions for which he was appointed.
He applauded the Ministry for their invaluable support in putting together all the documents on the Initiative on the Access to Information.
The Deputy Government Spokesman Ajibu Jalloh also congratulated the Chairman and his Commissioners and assured them of the support of the Office of the Government Spokesman whilst encouraging them to work hard in order to realize the dream of the President.
In his closing remarks, the National publicity and Outreach Coordinator in the Office of the Government Spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay congratulated the Chairman and his colleagues on their appointments, noting that the Ministry of Information and Communications would continue to support the commission in ensuring that the media and the general public get timely and accurate information as prescribed by law.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications Mr. Paul Sandi reiterated the Ministry’s readiness to always support the Commission in the discharge of their duties.