By Sorie Fofana.
Exactly a month today, the Office of the President announced the dissolution of several Boards/Commissions/Authorities/Agencies. Some of the Boards/Commissions/Authorities/Agencies that were dissolved have been restructured and new Chairmen/Directors/Commissioners appointed.
One of the Commissions dissolved last month is the Independent Media Commission. The IMC was established in the year 2000 to regulate the activities of media institutions.
The IMC has had distinguished Chairmen and Commissioners in the persons of Justice Alhadi, Lawyer Francis Conteh, Mrs. Bernadette Cole, Rod Mac-Johnson, Christo Johnson, Sahr Mbayo and Ambassador Allieu Ibrahim Kanu.
According to the IMC Act, 2000 the President can appoint the Chairman of the Commission in consultation with SLAJ. The President can do such consultation either though a letter to the SLAJ President or by telephone or by any other means he chooses.
Several people have complained that the absence of a constituted IMC has given way for some media institutions to become errant. For instance, some media institutions have been flouting the IMC Code of Practice with reckless abandon. This is happening simply because there is no IMC Chairman or Commissioners to call them to order. The need for the speedy appointment of a new Chairman of the IMC and other Commissioners of the IMC is more compelling.
A senior citizen who felt embarrassed by a fake news item about him in one of the local newspapers wrote a letter of complaint to the IMC seeking redress. The IMC wrote back, stating that he should wait until new Commissioners are appointed.
The important role of the IMC cannot be overemphasized. Since the IMC was established, there has been great improvement in the way some media institutions/practitioners practice their trade.
We call on President Julius Maada Bio to speed up the appointment of the Chairman of the IMC and other Commissioners of the IMC in order to protect the public against the excesses of some errant media institutions/practitioners.
With an effective IMC, there will be no need for the Police to call on media institutions to practice the Journalism profession in a very responsible manner. The IMC can provide an effective oversight responsibility if it chooses to be independent and refuses to take orders from above.
We pray that the new IMC Chairman and Commissioners will live up to the expectations of the nation by being apolitical and by ignoring the proverbial orders from above.