• December 19, 2023

UBA’s Contribution to Media Development in Sierra Leone

UBA’s Contribution to Media Development in Sierra Leone
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Sierra Leone’s media institutions, in recent times, are faced with several challenges that hinder their growth and development.

Finances   to keep media institutions up and running especially payment of salaries, production costs and looking after other welfare issues of staff are one of the biggest setbacks.

The advent of social media as an alternative source of information also worsens the situation with several media institutions forced out of the news industry.

To change the narrative, UBA (United Bank for Africa) has been supporting print and electronic media institutions (newspapers, radio and TV stations) by way of well-paid ads and sponsorship thanks to UBA’s Public relations Unit.

In recent times, UBA has dished out the largest number of adverts to several media institutions and pay upfront for them, a move that boost financial capacities of several media institutions in Sierra Leone.

The ads ran for several months with no arrears owed to any media institution.

With such huge support to media institutions, proprietors have enough to take care of production costs.

Most newspapers which have almost gone out of publication have resurfaced on the newsstands with great vigour.

Out UBA’s support, they are coming out than never before. It is also the same with radio and TV stations which have got a fair share of UBA’s ads.

Helping to sustain media institutions in Sierra Leone is also a way of creating jobs for thousands of mass communication graduates turned out every year by various universities across the country.

University of Sierra Leone, University Of Makeni and Njala University have Mass Communication and Journalism departments that produce hundreds of journalists that outweigh government’s employment capacity.

Only private media institutions can absorb the graduates by offering them employment opportunities.

By UBA’s support, several media institutions have been sustained and several graduates have taken up jobs as reporters, sub-editors, editors, producers and radio station managers and news coordinators in several print and electronic media institutions across the country.Mass Communication students from Fourah Bay College also do their internship in several media institutions as part of their academic courses.

UBA also often intervene in several situations that is outside the financial capacity of media institutions.

When a storm shut down Radio Hope FM in Makeni city in the North of Sierra Leone few months ago, UBA put back the radio on air by replenishing damaged equipment.

The proprietor of the Radio station remains thankful for UBA whose intervention created a difference.

UBA’s support to media institutions does not stop there as the bank often sponsors annual events held by SLAJ (Sierra Leone Association of Journalists) the umbrella body of all media practitioners in the country.

It sponsors the Annual General Meeting held every year by the journalists’ parent body.

The event is one of the most important for journalists all over the country who converge to discuss issues pertinent to the media growth and development as well journalists’ welfare.

It is usually a big occasion as media practitioners are brought together under the same roof costing the organization huge sum of money.

It also during the AGM that executive officials are elected, and sometimes journalists could spend days in the deliberations.

The AGM is a financially demanding event as hotels have to be rented and other issues attended to.

In such a situation, the executive often reach out to corporate entities for financial support and UBA has declared its relevance to the umbrella body by footing a big chunk of its bills.

Hardly an AGM passes off with UBA contributing millions of Leones to make the occasion a great success.

The continental bank also provides support for SLAJ affiliate bodies such as Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL), Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL) and the recently formed Sierra Leone Association of Women in Journalism (SLAWIJ) among others.

Despite economic crunch, UBA still shows support for the media and other sectors of the economy.

With UBA, a brighter future awaits the media institutions especially in a country affected with abject media poverty.

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