Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation says EU Elections Observation Mission’s statement is misleading and contradictory


The EU-EOM team in Sierra Leone

After careful reading of the European Union Observation Mission Preliminary Statement, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) has described the Mission’s statement on SLBC granting 60% airtime to the APC and 18% airtime to the main opposition party as misleading and contradictory. According to the EU Observation Mission, while the SLPP was allocated only 18% of airtime, the SLBC allocated 40% airtime to the APC and an additional 20% to the APC Government.

After a closed door meeting between the head of the EU Observation Mission and the SLBC Director-General at the Broadcasting House yesterday, the Director-General noted that it became apparent that the EU team had not digested the SLBC Act 2009 that gave mandate to the SLBC to always cover activities of parliament, the judiciary and the executive irrespective of whatever other activity is occurring. “Were the EU Observation Team could argue that they had read the SLBC Act 2009,” the Director-General added, “the corporation then views the inclusion of SLBC’s coverage of government activities into their elections preliminary statement as misleading and contradictory, capable to undermine the valuable strides the corporation has made to represent the opinion of all categories of Sierra Leoneans.

Was the EU Observation Mission expecting the SLBC to place a ban on the coverage of the activities of the executive, parliament and the judiciary?” The Director-General questioned. The SLBC is also concerned that the Head of the EU Observation Mission only relied on the mission’s viewing of SLBC television to draw their conclusions. SLBC also noted that the EU Preliminary Statement did not show any enthusiasm in SLBC’s radio coverage of political parties, only once mentioning that “On SLBC Radio the unbalance was slightly lower, with APC receiving 40.5% of the total airtime on news and programmes and SLPP being afforded 23% of the coverage. None of the remaining parties received 8.5% of coverage either on radio or on SLBC TV.” The SLBC strongly challenges this assertion.

The SLBC is calling on the leadership of the EU Observation Mission to share its data and analyses with the corporation, as much as the corporation is willing to share its own data and analyses with the EU Observation Mission. As the Head of the EU Observation Mission stated in an SLBC interview after the Mission’s press conference, that the statement should be able to provide learning experience for the SLBC, the Director-General said SLBC will appreciate any documentation leading to the methodological bases that informed the EU Observation Mission’s findings.

Please find an SLBC block analyses of political parties’ appearances on the Sierra Leone Broadcasting cooperation Radio and Television medium, in/and programmes from 6th June to 15th November 2012. (A detailed Report to follow)


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