IMC chairman Rod Mac-Johnson has said in Freetown that while there is freedom for people to express their collective and individual views, the media has not effectively played its part in creating the right environment for such views to be focused and constructive in the national development debate.
Addressing a stakeholders’ forum at Bintumani hotel on the role of the media in the 2012 elections, the IMC boss said that rather than promoting an open, democratic debate “the media seems bent on taking the nation in the opposite direction”, noting that the “time has come to take the ‘bull by the horns’ and advocate and demand, the need for a collective commitment to change the current negative media environment.”
A senior UN official Dr. Nana Busia told the gathering that the media has enormous powers in the governance of any country and argued that unless journalists performed their role with fairness and credibility, governance and human development would be harmed.
He called on the IMC to use its existing instruments – the amended act and the code of practice – to regulate the industry in the best interest of the people.
Several experts presented papers on issues ranging from information access and dissemination on the coming elections, political advertising and conflicts of interest. The Participants mandated the IMC to publish a communiqués based on a number of recommendations agreed on at the event.