The acting Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Lusine Kallon, whilst donating to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) encouraged journalists to stand up for responsible journalism and also do their job with patriotism and sincerity.
The acting Minister yesterday donated two calculators, cartoons of A4 packets, 4 packets of pens, flip charts and paper files as his own support to SLAJ’s triennial general conference slated for Friday 12th July to Saturday 13th July at 9 am, on the theme: “Social Media and the Future of Journalism in Sierra Leone.”
He informed that President Julius Maada Bio believes in press freedom but that freedom must go with a responsibility. He encouraged all media practitioners to support SLAJ and the Independent Media Commission in their fight for a responsible journalism.
He strongly reminded his audience that journalism is a profession and not every Jack and Jill will just wake up and say I am a Journalist.
“I am not here to make a speech but to demonstrate our support to SLAJ as a potent force to reckon with,” said Minister Kallon.
He said Sierra Leone was the hub of Journalism in Africa and in 1860s journalists from all over Africa gained employment to practice professional journalism in our own country.
Some years later, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) was founded on June 5th 1971 to protect and promote freedom of expression and of the press.
“The question we have not been able to ask ourselves is, what actually went wrong?” He appealed that “we find an answer to this particular question during our conference.”
Professional journalism is a huge challenge not only for SLAJ but even us as a Government. He noted that there are success stories so far but encouraged journalists to practice within the remit of the law.
He used the platform to congratulate the next SLAJ president and officially handed over the items as his own personal support to the SLAJ triennial conference.
Receiving the items on behalf of the SLAJ Secretariat, the Public Relations Officer, Miss Princess Gibson admitted that there are challenges with ethical journalism but said SLAJ is working collaboratively with the IMC to ensure that quality reforms take place in the media industry.
She commended Minister Kallon and his entourage for such a timely gesture and confirmed that the Government has approved SLAJ’s subvention and plans are underway to process the documentation for onward transfer to their account.