Concord Times (Freetown)

2 July 2009

Sierra Leone: SLBS/TV Abandoned?

Freetown — Residents of the eastern district town of Kenema have raised concern over the continuous closure of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service television station, SLBS/TV located in the township despite consistency in electricity supply in the area.

Minister of information and communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo had earlier said his ministry was working with the management of the SLBS to take inventory of all its propriety across the country to ensure proper mechanisms are put in place to effectively manage the state broadcaster.

The SLBS/TV which is located at Mount Tango, west of Kenema, has been off air for a couple of months now due to what some staff say was the lack of a proper electricity generating capacity.

Hawa Konneh, a resident of Kenema told Concord Times that they are aware about improvements being made to the SLBS/TV in Freetown but that since the Kenema station was installed by the past SLPP government, there have been no efforts either on the part of the management or the APC-led government to salvage the moribund state of the broadcaster.

She said during the inauguration of president Ernest Bai Koroma, efforts were made to ensure that the TV was on air to provide coverage for the event.

"We are always retrogressing in this part of the country. We were told that the SLBS/TV has been equipped with the latest technologies to provide reliable service to the entire region; but it is the opposite. There is now consistent electricity supply here but the station could still not come alive," she said.

One of the SLBS staff, who preferred not to be named, said they are faced with a lot of constraints, coupled with public criticisms.

He said there was an agreement between the information ministry and mobile phones companies to provide electricity for all SLBS stations in the provinces but lamented that the TV station in Kenema was not included due to the inability of the companies to generate enough power for the TV and radio stations.

"Government needs to do something fast for the TV station because we lack major equipments to carry out our operations effectively," he urged.

Efforts to reach the station manage of SLBS Kenema, Andrew Smith on this issue proved futile.

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