By Mohamed Konneh
The Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL) has ended a two-day training and symposium for sports journalists at the Harry Yanseneh Memorial Hall, SLAJ Headquarters, 56 Campbell Street in Freetown.
The training is part of an effort to capacitate sports journalists in the country, starting with a symposium on 18th February through to 19th February 2021.
The training was made possible through the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) COVID-19 relief fund provided by the world governing body FIFA.
SWASAL also received additional support from its parent body the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) for this training.
Making his presentation, Lead facilitator, Dr. Francis Sowa, dealt with the repeal of Part 5 of the Public Order Act of 1965 and the newly enacted IMC Act 2020.
Dr. Sowa noted that sports reporting is among the finest reportage across the globe citing the best of commentaries during the match day.
This makes sport reporting unique adding that Sierra Leone could also boast of fine sport journalists men and women in the country.
He however noted that no sports journalist is exempted from the law noting that on daily basis journalists especially come in conflict with the law.
“The criminal libel law is no more hanging over us but there are still laws that guide and regulate the media. The civil libel is still in place and this is the more reason I was happy when told SWASAL will be having training in this direction. As journalists we all have to adhere to the rules and regulation governing the profession, he said”.
He also touched on the COVID 19, SLAJ CODE of Ethics, the Independent Media Code of Practice and other statutory instruments related to operations of journalists in Sierra Leone.
Making his presentation also, Dr. Abdulrahman Swaray, spoke on professional journalism, its practice using the 5Ws & H in reporting more especially during the COVID-19 era.
He encourages journalists to always cross-check their fact before publishing.
Speaking earlier, SWASAL President Frank Ernest Magnus Cole, described the training as very important noting that under his tenure this is the fifth training organized under his watch.
He said the capacity building was part of his manifesto during the campaign while noting that his executive has done a lot during his tenure.
“My term is coming to an end but my support will continue especially in the area of building the capacity of colleague journalists. This training and many of the other training done was geared towards building your capacity and I called on you to do your work professionally and accurately, and be a good example to society, he said”.
Hawa Dauda is among beneficiaries who noted that the training was timely and very educative.
“We learnt so much during these two days. There are lots of things I never knew about but this training has opened my eyes to them. Thank you SWASAL for this opportunity and we will make sure we put what we have leant into practice, she said”.
The 2021 SWASAL training and Symposium treated relevant topics including Olympic Reporting, Principles of professional media reporting, introduction to ethical reporting, Public Order Act 1965 (repeal) and the new IMC act and Media Code of practice.
The training was climaxed by the presentation of certificates.