29 July 2015

Sierra Leone: CRC Engages the Media

As the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) continues to interface with members of the public, including professional bodies, as part of the reviewing process of the current constitution, a one-day session was yesterday (28 July) organized for media practitioners in the country at the Miatta conference hall.

Speaking at the event, chairperson for State Policy and Human Rights and representative of Women's Forum on the 80-man committee, Madam Olatungie Campbell, said the nationwide consultations targeted stakeholders, including public servants, local dignitaries and community elders.

She described the current stage of the review process as "very technical", and that they need all the attention to ensure that recommendations and position papers from organisations and individuals would be properly scrutinised before they are sent for presentation to the plenary.

Head of the Mass Communication Department at Fourah Bay College, Hindolo Tonya Musa, made a presentation on the 'ethical, objective and sensitive reporting on the CRC'. He said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended a review of the 1991 Constitution in order to address critical issues, adding that the media should report issues that are relevant and could be of human interest as recommendations.

He said journalists can also source news during the collation and compilation of submissions after consultations have ended, noting that the core principles of communicating the CRC process entail explaining the process to the people, and that public opinion should be expressed freely with a sense of responsibility.

He also cautioned newsmen to be mindful of sensitive issues in their reportage, stressing that they should not be oblivious of the Independent Media Commission's code of accuracy, balance and credibility.

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