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WHAT KILLED SIERRATEL & SALPOST? …Mobile revolution or lack of innovation? PDF Print E-mail
Development
Written by Ahmed Fonike   
Friday, 21 June 2013 19:54

The Almighty Sierra Leone Telecommunication Company (SIERRATEL) and  The Sierra Leone Postal Services Limited (SALPOST) used to be the pride of Sierra Leone in service delivery but have crumbled  down  the drain to their unexpected  lowest  standards that really need some interventions.

Sierratel was formed as a government entity to provide affordable telephone services to the nation. It has in no doubt been the only gate way for all sorts of communication in Sierra Leone – meaning all companies do pay for this gate way. In the past years, Sierratel was a business giant in Sierra Leone from the late 1980s to early 1990s making meaningful economic contribution to the government. The first action that started crippling it was the establishment of an open line to homes and commercial premises which led to massive corruption among workers. Those connected were misusing the international line, no proper accountability from senior workers and payment of staff salaries became problematic. So, the ill managed company gradually turned out to be the centre of staff strikes and corruption. This continued till the wake of mobile companies in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s to 2000. Covered by the gate way mobile lenders from Sierratel, the mobile companies toppled Sierratel and became more powerful to this moment. The imperative question one may ask is - what has really killed the Almighty Sierratel, is it the mobile companies’ revolution or lack of innovation?( the giver to become the great loser).

After allowing customers or subscribers to the mobile companies to be loyal and develop trust in them, it  became difficult for Sierraratel to wake up from its long slumber and catch up with the 100 meters ahead mobile companies. To leap-frog now, build confidence in the millions of mobile subscribers in Sierra Leone has been a herculean task for the one time pride of Sierra Leone telecompany.

One may suggest among other things as a way forward that added to the cheapest rates, Sierratel which operates both land and mobile telephone services must design strategies like the sim and credits paid for but the mobile phone itself free. Also seasonal raffle draws and other sales promotions should be done.

The Sierra Leone Postal Services Company (SALPOST) on the other hand was formed to ensure effective and efficient delivery of mails, other parcels, information packages (normal and classified) both internal and external. It had a good structure and did well in the 70s and 80s but started declining in the wake of the new media technology known as Internet. This was because the internet provides website, email, facebook (social media) facilities that could easily replace the services SALPOST could provide.

With innovation however, SALPOST could have still survived and maintained its expected service delivery especially the hinterland document services in the country. There are certain documents that still need the services of SALPOST both local and International that go beyond international facilities. With facilities and well coordinated programs, SALPOST can still make its contribution to nation building. Why have DHL, Red Coat and others are still surviving and making inroads to the happiness of the public, staff and most important their owners/Managing Directors? All this is because of well coordinated programs and dedication. The idea is centred on sober arrangement with the Airlines for prompt delivery of international mails to their respective destinations. For local mails around the country, SALPOST should have small and good vehicles with dedicated staff who will not give flimsy excuses to deliver parcels on time. The above are just few examples of numerous services SALPOST should offer this nation.

Nevertheless, since SALPOST has lost direction of what to do to keep the Institution above the water, it is imperative that government inject and render it some innovations to salvage the deplorable and ridiculous condition of SALPOST.

The first move government can do towards this is to like the US A transfer the issuance of all passports to SALPOST whiles the Immigration concentrate on the real enforcement of immigrants and other duties. If passports issuance is done by SALPOST, that will wake up and make it fulfil all other functions. Added to the revenue SALPOST will generate for government, it will also become more viable and be a pillar of the Agenda for Prosperity. Immigration on the other hand will then be steadfast in checking for residential permits, expert rate fee, work permits and other documents around our bothers, in the cities and other big towns. The effectiveness and efficiency of this enforcement body (Immigration) can then be achieved and appreciated, hence a contribution to the Agenda for Prosperity. What out for more in the next edition in trying to salvage the situation of SALPOST.

 

Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

Read more...

Business News

“Sierra Rutile is part of Sierra Leone’s economic growth…” -VP Foh

During a courtesy call on him by Management of Sierra Rutile Company, Honorable Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh said in Freetown, Tuesday, 26th May, that the Company is a major player in Sierra Leone’s economic growth trajectory.

According to Vice President Foh, Sierra Rutile is an old and weather tested company that has stood by Sierra Leone at all times, good or bad.

Speaking earlier, Alex B Kamara, a Director of the Company, said, the Company will continue  to do its utmost to contribute to the development of Sierra Leone.

Read more...

Media News

World Press Freedom Day 2015: The MFWA Calls for Professionalism, Gender Equality, and Digital Safety Awareness in the Media

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is observed globally on May 3 in celebration of the importance of press freedom and media independence and pluralism. Today, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) joins the world in commemorating press freedom under this year’s theme: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.” In accordance with the 2015 WPFD theme, the MFWA calls for increased independent, quality reporting by the media; women’s enjoyment of free expression and participation in public life in and through the media; and awareness of digital safety for journalists.

 

Independent and Quality Media

Since last year, the MFWA has regrettably recorded increases in unprofessionalism by the media in West Africa. Decreases in independent and quality reporting negatively impact the public’s trust in the media and consequently hurt the media’s ability to act as a watchdog. Moreover, independent and quality reporting can play a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability. Conversely, unprofessional conduct can facilitate violence and other abuses—especially during election periods, which several countries in West Africa enter this year. The MFWA looks forward to continuing to engage the media on increasing media independence and quality journalism.

 

Gender and Media

Although important strides have been made towards improving women’s participation in public life, obstacles remain to West African women’s ability to both express themselves and participate in governance in or through the media. In Ghana, which has exemplary levels of civil and political rights protections in West Africa, the MFWA found underrepresentation of women as featured individuals, discussants, and moderators and in the share of women’s issues discussed on radio programmes.

Gender balance and equality in a particular media platform’s reports and programmes indicate that it is readily accessible to women. Such gender representation can, in fact, empower women to use the media as a vehicle for seeking, receiving, and imparting information about issues in their community. In turn, this helps promote good and sustainable governance and development. Due to the importance of empowering women, the MFWA has made efforts to increase women’s involvement in and through the media in West Africa.

 

Digital Safety for Journalists

Journalists in West Africa are frequently targeted for their work: they have been brutalised and even killed, threatened, detained, and otherwise silenced both online and offline. In 2014, the MFWA recorded two incidents of digital rights violations—one in The Gambia and one in Nigeria—but due to the more hidden nature of online (as opposed to offline) violations, other unreported violations may have occurred. As internet penetration continues to rapidly grow in West Africa and the rest of the world, it is increasingly important for journalists to engage in digital safety practices to protect themselves from violations of their digital rights. The MFWA has always monitored and reported on safety of journalists, including digital rights violations, and it hopes to see more gains in both offline and internet freedoms in West Africa this year.

 

MFWA’s Recommendations

Given the challenges remaining to achieving independent and quality reporting, balance and equality in women’s representation and participation in and through the media, and effective digital safety measures for journalists, the MFWA makes the following recommendations:

 

To Journalists and Media Houses:

  • Exercise professionalism and high ethics in investigating and reporting.
  • Refrain from spreading indecent campaign language and hate speech through reporting and programming, especially during election periods.
  • Fully and equally integrate women into media programming and newsroom decision-making to achieve gender balance and equality in media representation.
  • Develop a document to help journalists conduct risk assessments related to digital safety.

 

To Civil Society:

  • Capacity-build journalists on standards of professionalism and ethics.
  • Capacity-build women to use the media to engage in public debates.
  • Capacity-build journalists on safety of journalists, particularly digital safety.

 

To Governments:

  • Support professional development of the media through effective frameworks and resource allocation. 
  • Ensure that security forces understand and respect and protect journalists’ rights.
- See more at: http://www.mfwa.org/news.php?article_ID=493#sthash.peBzbRhM.dpuf

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is observed globally on May 3 in celebration of the importance of press freedom and media independence and pluralism. Today, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) joins the world in commemorating press freedom under this year’s theme: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.” In accordance with the 2015 WPFD theme, the MFWA calls for increased independent, quality reporting by the media; women’s enjoyment of free expression and participation in public life in and through the media; and awareness of digital safety for journalists.

 

Independent and Quality Media

Since last year, the MFWA has regrettably recorded increases in unprofessionalism by the media in West Africa. Decreases in independent and quality reporting negatively impact the public’s trust in the media and consequently hurt the media’s ability to act as a watchdog. Moreover, independent and quality reporting can play a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability. Conversely, unprofessional conduct can facilitate violence and other abuses—especially during election periods, which several countries in West Africa enter this year. The MFWA looks forward to continuing to engage the media on increasing media independence and quality journalism.

 

Gender and Media

Although important strides have been made towards improving women’s participation in public life, obstacles remain to West African women’s ability to both express themselves and participate in governance in or through the media. In Ghana, which has exemplary levels of civil and political rights protections in West Africa, the MFWA found underrepresentation of women as featured individuals, discussants, and moderators and in the share of women’s issues discussed on radio programmes.

Gender balance and equality in a particular media platform’s reports and programmes indicate that it is readily accessible to women. Such gender representation can, in fact, empower women to use the media as a vehicle for seeking, receiving, and imparting information about issues in their community. In turn, this helps promote good and sustainable governance and development. Due to the importance of empowering women, the MFWA has made efforts to increase women’s involvement in and through the media in West Africa.

 

Digital Safety for Journalists

Journalists in West Africa are frequently targeted for their work: they have been brutalised and even killed, threatened, detained, and otherwise silenced both online and offline. In 2014, the MFWA recorded two incidents of digital rights violations—one in The Gambia and one in Nigeria—but due to the more hidden nature of online (as opposed to offline) violations, other unreported violations may have occurred. As internet penetration continues to rapidly grow in West Africa and the rest of the world, it is increasingly important for journalists to engage in digital safety practices to protect themselves from violations of their digital rights. The MFWA has always monitored and reported on safety of journalists, including digital rights violations, and it hopes to see more gains in both offline and internet freedoms in West Africa this year.

 

MFWA’s Recommendations

Given the challenges remaining to achieving independent and quality reporting, balance and equality in women’s representation and participation in and through the media, and effective digital safety measures for journalists, the MFWA makes the following recommendations:

 

To Journalists and Media Houses:

  • Exercise professionalism and high ethics in investigating and reporting.
  • Refrain from spreading indecent campaign language and hate speech through reporting and programming, especially during election periods.
  • Fully and equally integrate women into media programming and newsroom decision-making to achieve gender balance and equality in media representation.
  • Develop a document to help journalists conduct risk assessments related to digital safety.

 

To Civil Society:

  • Capacity-build journalists on standards of professionalism and ethics.
  • Capacity-build women to use the media to engage in public debates.
  • Capacity-build journalists on safety of journalists, particularly digital safety.

 

To Governments:

  • Support professional development of the media through effective frameworks and resource allocation. 
  • Ensure that security forces understand and respect and protect journalists’ rights.
- See more at: http://www.mfwa.org/news.php?article_ID=493#sthash.peBzbRhM.dpuf

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is observed globally on May 3 in celebration of the importance of press freedom and media independence and pluralism. Today, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) joins the world in commemorating press freedom under this year’s theme: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.” In accordance with the 2015 WPFD theme, the MFWA calls for increased independent, quality reporting by the media; women’s enjoyment of free expression and participation in public life in and through the media; and awareness of digital safety for journalists.

 

Independent and Quality Media

Since last year, the MFWA has regrettably recorded increases in unprofessionalism by the media in West Africa. Decreases in independent and quality reporting negatively impact the public’s trust in the media and consequently hurt the media’s ability to act as a watchdog. Moreover, independent and quality reporting can play a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability. Conversely, unprofessional conduct can facilitate violence and other abuses—especially during election periods, which several countries in West Africa enter this year. The MFWA looks forward to continuing to engage the media on increasing media independence and quality journalism.

 

Gender and Media

Although important strides have been made towards improving women’s participation in public life, obstacles remain to West African women’s ability to both express themselves and participate in governance in or through the media. In Ghana, which has exemplary levels of civil and political rights protections in West Africa, the MFWA found underrepresentation of women as featured individuals, discussants, and moderators and in the share of women’s issues discussed on radio programmes.

Gender balance and equality in a particular media platform’s reports and programmes indicate that it is readily accessible to women. Such gender representation can, in fact, empower women to use the media as a vehicle for seeking, receiving, and imparting information about issues in their community. In turn, this helps promote good and sustainable governance and development. Due to the importance of empowering women, the MFWA has made efforts to increase women’s involvement in and through the media in West Africa.

 

Digital Safety for Journalists

Journalists in West Africa are frequently targeted for their work: they have been brutalised and even killed, threatened, detained, and otherwise silenced both online and offline. In 2014, the MFWA recorded two incidents of digital rights violations—one in The Gambia and one in Nigeria—but due to the more hidden nature of online (as opposed to offline) violations, other unreported violations may have occurred. As internet penetration continues to rapidly grow in West Africa and the rest of the world, it is increasingly important for journalists to engage in digital safety practices to protect themselves from violations of their digital rights. The MFWA has always monitored and reported on safety of journalists, including digital rights violations, and it hopes to see more gains in both offline and internet freedoms in West Africa this year.

 

MFWA’s Recommendations

Given the challenges remaining to achieving independent and quality reporting, balance and equality in women’s representation and participation in and through the media, and effective digital safety measures for journalists, the MFWA makes the following recommendations:

 

To Journalists and Media Houses:

  • Exercise professionalism and high ethics in investigating and reporting.
  • Refrain from spreading indecent campaign language and hate speech through reporting and programming, especially during election periods.
  • Fully and equally integrate women into media programming and newsroom decision-making to achieve gender balance and equality in media representation.
  • Develop a document to help journalists conduct risk assessments related to digital safety.

 

To Civil Society:

  • Capacity-build journalists on standards of professionalism and ethics.
  • Capacity-build women to use the media to engage in public debates.
  • Capacity-build journalists on safety of journalists, particularly digital safety.

 

To Governments:

  • Support professional development of the media through effective frameworks and resource allocation. 
  • Ensure that security forces understand and respect and protect journalists’ rights.
- See more at: http://www.mfwa.org/news.php?article_ID=493#sthash.peBzbRhM.dpuf

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is observed globally on May 3 in celebration of the importance of press freedom and media independence and pluralism.

Today, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) joins the world in commemorating press freedom under this year’s theme: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.”

In accordance with the 2015 WPFD theme, the MFWA calls for increased independent, quality reporting by the media; women’s enjoyment of free expression and participation in public life in and through the media; and awareness of digital safety for journalists.

Read more...

Commentary

IMC – A DOG WITH POISON TEETH!

At 24, Karl Marx was the most feared critic in Germany – the Prussian King and the ruling class often couldn’t figure what his next commentary would be, and spent endless hours trying to guess which policy he will try to riddle with holes and make them look small before the eyes of the people.

  But the one most worried was the censor – hawk-eyed for any devilry either from Marx or any of the radicals at Bonn University or elsewhere – the censor because his job depended on it, it was reported, never went to bed early until he had read all the proofs. And there were so many proofs to read! Worst of all, Marx and some enterprising columnists like inserting a paragraph or two that could rue the day for the monarchy and all.

  Karl Marx, as a law student at the University of Bonn in the early 1800s, and later when he became editor of the Rheinische Zeitung was a daredevil who gave the censor trouble, and the censor in turn sought to show Marx and his kind the power that lay in the law, which eventually had to close the paper because of its radical posture and constant criticism of the Prussian monarchy.

Read more...

View Point

NJALA UNIVERSITY IS A MESS

I visited Njala University two years back with the Parliamentary Education Committee, and still remember the camaraderie then between the staff and the deputy vice chancellor. Everyone was congratulating everyone, and is happy to have met the other.

  There was good reason to rejoice – Njala was then and still is, the leading university in Sierra Leone, and even the Education Committee was proud to be a part of the success story, and encouraged them to go for the gold.

But today, two years later, the situation has gone sour; everyone has reached for his sword and is threatening fire and slaughter – with none of them caring about the students caught in this useless crossfire.

Read more...

News - Press Release

RSF hails Security Council's historic decision on protecting journalists

Speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) secretary-general Christophe Deloire hailed the council’s unanimous adoption today of an historic resolution on the protection of journalists in armed conflicts.

At the same time, he called for concrete measures to ensure implementation of international law on the safety of journalists.

“This is an historic day for the protection of journalists and also, we hope, for freedom of information,” Deloire said, addressing the ambassadors of the Security Council’s 15 member states and around 50 other United Nations member states.

Read more...

Society -Local News

Juror Jailed for Negligence

One of the twelve jurors assigned to hear and decide the murder matter of Alakeh Johnson and seven others, Tennyson Bio has been remanded to prison  for one day by the sitting Judge, Justice Samuel Margai, for what he referred to as negligence.

His action came to be following the frequent absence of Tennyson whenever the matter comes up for hearing which normally stalls proceedings.

  Shortly after the matter was mentioned yesterday by the prosecutor O.V Robin Mason, the Bench called up Mr. Bio to give reasons why he always fails to turn up in court, a deal he has already signed to.

Read more...

Development

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION CONCLUDES SYMPOSIUM ON DRAFT CONSTITUTIONAL POSITION
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone on Wednesday 27th May, 2015 ended a symposium at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex on the drafting of a position paper to the Constitutional Review Committee.
 
One of the functions of the Human Rights commission is to review existing legislations and advise government on human rights concerns. The Commission is a major stakeholder in the constitutional review process and plays a critical role in ensuring that the revised constitution is human rights friendly.
 
Various speakers drawn from the legal, civil society and academia spoke on specific human rights topics that should form part of the position paper.
Read more...

Politics

GUMA BRIEFS COMMITTEE ON WATER RESOURCES

For the purpose of providing sustainable water supply to the residents of Freetown and its environs, the Parliamentary Committee on Water Resources which is chaired by Hon. Sualiho M. Koroma few days ago summoned the management of GUMA Valley Water Company; charged with the exclusive responsibility of providing water for Freetown; at Committee Room 1 in Parliament to give an update on the status of their activities undertaken in 2014.

According to the Chairman, this was the first time the management of GUMA had met with the entire membership of the Committee since it was reconstituted in the third session of the fourth Parliament. He recalled that such engagements last year resulted in an oversight of GUMA’s existing facilities. He also assured the management of GUMA not to feel intimated as the Committee was only performing its oversight function; whose findings and recommendations would be tabled and debated in Parliament for necessary action. He furthered, that the briefing was not meant to witch-hunt anyone, but to sincerely discuss their status report; as MPs had a lot of water related issues in their constituencies in Freetown.

Read more...
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