• September 1, 2023

FINANCE STALLS IMC OPERATIONS

FINANCE STALLS IMC OPERATIONS
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Wilful deprivation of subvention by the Ministry of Finance to the country’s only media regulator, the Independent Media Commission (IMC) has brought untold suffering to staff of the commission.

Reliable source reaching the FORUMNEWS-SL has it that since September of 2022, the Government of New Direction Administration now the ‘Big Five Game Changers’ has refused to provide the much needed funds to the IMC as quarterly subvention.

Weather the decision of government through the Ministry of Finance withhold IMC subvention is deliberate or not, what remains clear is the fact that the activities of the Commission are stalled due to lack of funding and other logistical support constrains to enable its function as a proper media regulator.

Management and Staff of IMC are working tirelessly to make ends meet especially so when many of IMC staff happens to be parents with the reopening of schools just a skip to catch.

Media gurus continue to described the current situation at the IMC to have reach an helpless level that have prompted many media practitioners pondering over what might have caused the reason for the neglect.

Cross section of the Sierra Leone media viewed the decision of the President Julius Maada Bio-led administration as complete irony considering the role played by his government in championing the course of Press Freedom. The more reason regular subventions to the IMC should go without saying.

With the incumbent government continues to battle with some media institutions since its inception with regards stock pile of state issues, the IMC has over the years encouraged many editors, station managers as well as media owners to cross check their stories and promote development journalism, especially in the Bio’s ‘Feed Salone’ drive to for benefit of country and sierra Leoneans.

Such constant engagements by the IMC with the media have largely helped lessen the many unprofessional blunders that had and continue to rock Ministries, Departments and Agencies under President Bio’s watch.

Chairman, Independent Media Commission, Dr Victor Massaquio in one of his engagements with the media spoke about the rebranding process the commission, which according to him had gone through with the aim of meeting existing and evolving challenges in line with the recently enacted IMC Act of 2020.

Dr Massaquio expressed desire to strategically reposition the IMC through regular monitoring the media space gently, but robustly generating free speech, friendly regulations, developing the capacity of IMC staff, media practitioners and vigorously mobilizing resources for sustainability.

As per statue, the IMC is a creature of parliament created to advise the information ministry on media policy formulation and development, maintain a register of media institutions, newspapers and magazines publish in Sierra Leone.

The IMC as per mandate charged with the onus to establish clear limits on media ownership, including cross media ownership in the interest of diversity, compiled and adopt a comprehensive media Code of Practice, in collaboration with the umbrella media body, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and any other media practitioners associated, to monitor the implementation of that code of practice throughout the country.

It could be recalled that the 5th Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone, Thursday 23rd July 2020 debated and enacted the Independent Media Commission Act 2020 and repealed the 1965 Public Order Act that criminalised libel and sedition.

However efforts by FORUM NEWS-SL to reach the Media and Communications Department of the Ministry of Finance for their comments of the story proved futile until press time.

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