*SLAJ Reacts To IMC Nominations*
The *Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ)* has taken note of the press release dated 10th October 2018 from State House on the appointment of nominees to the Board of the *Independent Media Commission (IMC)*.
We note in particular that at least four (4) names were included in the list without any recourse to SLAJ. This violates the spirit of the IMC Act of 2000 as amended in 2006 and 2007 – (The Commission shall consist of a Chairman and ten other members, *all of whom shall be appointed by the President acting on the advice of SLAJ…* ) Sec 4. (1).
SLAJ is concerned that the President has gone ahead to propose a Chairman of the IMC, despite the fact that SLAJ had pointed out that the individual is publicly perceived as a partisan party supporter. This will undermine the credibility, impartiality and integrity of the Commission and will undermine the confidence of the public and many journalists in dealing with the Commission.
While this attribute is not in itself a disqualification, we are concerned that it defeats the independence of the Commission. We believe the IMC should be free of politics. In other words, the IMC should not only be independent, it should be seen to be independent.
In addition, Ethel Johnson, a broadcast expert who has spent all her professional life in broadcasting, retired at SLBC and has no print media experience, was erroneously named as a print media expert in the press release.
It is our considered view that the way these appointments have been made is a complete carbon copy of the past government and this action has severely dampened our spirit and expectations of a New Direction.
In light of the above we are seriously at pains to understand how difficult it is for government officials to simply consult and disagree to agree or agree to disagree. This attitude clouds our vision for the constructive development of a vibrant, free and thriving media in Sierra Leone.
SLAJ therefore feels severely constrained to accept this proposed composition of the IMC board as a *credible regulator* and calls on the President to act on the advice provided to him by SLAJ in the spirit of the IMC Act and as a clear manifestation of a break with the past.
*Ahmed Sahid Nasralla*
National Secretary General