SLAJ Commemorates World Radio Day

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President of the Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla,

By Foday Moriba Conteh

On the 13th February 2020 World Radio Day was celebrated. To commemorate the day the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) joined the rest of the world to observe it.
According to the President of the Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, the day was set aside to celebrate the role of radio in educating people, providing information, and promoting freedom of expression and democratic dialogue across nations.

He noted that in Sierra Leone, radio remains the most pervasive adding that the bulk of the population, especially in rural Sierra Leone, depend on radio for information.

“Limited technological infrastructure, lack of electricity, expensive data, etc. are real challenges that make radio easily accessible and the cheapest medium of communication for national development,” he underscored.

He pointed out that in this age of growing social media and mis-information, radio has proven to be quite reliable, an avenue for views of ordinary people to be heard and an important platform for democratic dialogue.

The SLAJ President said he wants to especially throw light on Community Radio Stations and the important role they play in informing and educating remote communities.

He furthered that sadly, quite recently, NATCOM closed down a number of radio stations, including community radios, for failure to pay annual regulation or spectrum fees. President Nasralla highlighted that while SLAJ is in the process of engaging NATCOM on that he is calling on regulators to treat community radios as providing a public service, and not treat them as commercial entities.

“Community radios are a valuable development tool and partner and must be regarded as such,” he stated furthering that meanwhile, on behalf of SLAJ, he wants to pay tribute to all station managers holding the fort, especially women station managers like Asmaa James.

Hawa Tucker, Sarah Rogers, Tiana Alpha, Patricia Ganda,Esther Kanneh Kargbo and Aminata Finda Massaquoi who are blazing the trail.
He also recognized the role of the Independent Radio Network (IRN) had played over the years and welcomed in advance the newly formed Sierra Leone Broadcasters Association.

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