Over the past week, the nation has been going through an unprecedented scarcity in the fuel market, leading to a lot of speculation from the general public. Today, the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, gave an interview to a radio station, in a bid to dispelling the rumors and allaying fears. He dilated on several issues about strategic positioning to handle the crisis and categorized government’s preparedness under the following:

1. support Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to import the product for product availability

2. support OMCs with forex so they can pay direct cash for product off shore

3. support dealers and transporters to ease supply chain issues

On product (fuel) availability, the government is giving forex support to OMCs (NP and Leone Oil) so they can import enough fuel. This would entail ensuring the relationship OMCs have with our main oil suppliers in Switzerland and who have been asking for direct cash for oil since the Ukrainian crisis began, is maintained. Before this time they used to supply our OMCs on credit, which they sell and pay later but that has stopped because of the crisis. As things stand now, OMCs have to pay cash but not all of them have the money, so government has come in to help.

This also related to the availability on the domestic front, where Government has raised distribution profit margins for local dealers from Le220 per liter to Le250 per litre, although the domestic dealers were asking for Le1, 500, per liter. The government considered the Le. 1, 500 margin as unrealistic and therefore settled for Le250, as a temporary arrangement to placate them. This encouraged the local dealers to go buy the product and open their stations to the public.

Also as a result, the two OMCs were able to bring in 10, 000 metric tons to cushion the previous scarcity. This past weekend, they brought in 6, 500 metric tons of diesel. In the next 5 days, NP will bring in another 5, 500 metric tons of products, all of which will eventually give us a total of 12,000 metric tons of product.

Other players in the sector such as CONNEX (formerly TOTAL) already had about 8,000 metric tons of product and they are expecting an additional 7, 500 metric tons in the next five days.

In total, all these available stocks will give us enough product that will result in the disappearance of the long queues at fuel stations.

On storage and distribution, government is now looking at the country’s resilience in the face of such shocks in the future and how much fuel we can hold in storage at any one point in time. This is where the newest player in the market, All Petroleum Products (APP) has come in with a commitment to enhancing our storage and distribution capacity. APP has already completed the refurbishment of a 60,000 metric tons storage capacity, which they have tested and is now available for use by all players in the sector.

The stabilization measures will be maintained throughout this unpredictable period, including continuing to subsidies the product so that the prices will be kept low and constant. This also underlines the fact that Government has spent a total of 99 to 110 billion Leones just to keep the prices low.

In effect, this is revenue that government has sacrificed for the benefit of consumers and it is prepared to do more to keep the prices where they are and ensure no further hardship is brought onto the people during this crisis.

SLRSA Boss Bags a Doctorate Degree At The Commonwealth University

By Lamin Sheriff

The Executive Director – ED, of the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority, SLRSA, Rev. Smart K. Senesie has been awarded the Degree of Doctor of Humanities (Honoris Causa) at Commonwealth University.

Commonwealth University is a corporate professional private university. It Is a non-traditional university that is globally focused and has its international office in London at the London Graduate School office; where they are promoting learning, research, and excellence.

Doctor of Humanities (H.D.) or alternatively Doctor of Humane Letters (D. Hum L.) is given in recognition of an achievement in humanities, for productive advocacies, and for philanthropic work to honor contributions to society in general.

Rev. Dr Smart K Senesie humbly started his career as a teacher at the Harford School for Girls Moyamba and has over 25 years of experience in humanities.

He served as a program officer for DFID in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

At NaCSA, he helped repatriate and Resettled over 100,000 IDPs and 40,000 Refugees. He was the Country Coordinator of Operation Classroom of the United Methodist Church, Director of Mission and Development, at the United Methodist Church Office in Sierra Leone.

Before his appointment at the SLRSA, he was the Chairman, Board of Directors at the Road Maintenance Fund Administration. As a development specialist , he  facilitated the construction of schools, health centres, bridges, and many other community infrastructure in almost every district in Sierra Leone. He is happily married and blessed with  three children.


What is the Difference between Journalist and Reporter

Published by Ajisebutu Doyinsola

Gorge Snell, a commentator for the US media, once commented that journalism is not a commodity while reporting is. He probably hit the nail on the head. With a plethora of websites now present all over the Internet, and each competing with the other to be the first one to release the ‘scoop’, the internet is all about ‘reporting.’ Most people are not interested in paying for the news reports they get, so Internet has now become the ‘right place’ for reporting.

TV and Radio, too, are the very first choices for people whenever there is a development anywhere in the world. Whether it is a natural disaster, an airplane crash, or an act of terrorism, these are the media of choice the general public would turn to. Twitter is fast coming up as a medium for transmitting ‘Breaking News’, and many celebrities and VIPs resort to Twitter whenever they want to make something instantaneously public. Facebook status is another medium where updates are posted. Interestingly, the traditional printed media, like newspapers and magazines, are now lacking behind in ‘reporting’ as by the time they bring out ‘news reports’ they are already ‘old’.

Thus, we see that the Reporter is the person who reports on an event taking place anywhere in the world. He/she does not add their opinion or analysis to the report. Journalism, however, unlike reporting, would involve getting ‘under’, or ‘beneath’, the news. It can involve steps like investigation, analysis, and well thought out commentary or opinion. A journalist goes through all these steps when he writes a piece. In the case of an airplane incident, the journalist would go a few steps further than just reporting what happened. He would investigate the history of crashes for that airline or aircraft model, and talk about the maintenance issues, etc. 1   

Journalism, therefore, is a very broad term. It includes all the people working in that field. In the news media, besides the reporters, there is a myriad of other work functions that are involved in the dissemination of news related information. Editors, TV anchors, reporters, and photographers are all included in journalism. In simple terms, we can safely say that Journalism is the universal term, while Reporting would form a subset of this universe. Thus, reporting, by this definition, is certainly a part of Journalism.

Normally Reporters deliver the news, and may also be presenters on Television. It is possible that a Journalist may act as a Reporter as well, but normally Reporters do not act as Journalists. A reporter would provide news to the Journalist, who would then analyze it, investigate it, and either give it to the reporter to present it, or, in some cases, might present it himself. In practice, we can see that on the news media, many journalists are also reporters as they have their own investigative, opinion, or analysis oriented TV programs, but reporters do not act as Journalists. Anderson Cooper, Christiana Amanpour, and Wolf Blitzer working for CNN are all very good examples of Journalists. 2

Reporting and Commentary

We see that commentary by journalists involves investigation, analysis, and opinions. Journalists who write or do the commentary are liable for what they say, and must adhere to rules of journalism ethics. They are literally required to do this almost daily. It is logical because, while lots of events are taking place around the world every day, what has been said about the event and its background is of paramount importance. Over time, listeners and viewers tend to develop a certain trust in the journalist of their liking, and he/she can have a great impact on the way they understand the events happening locally, regionally, nationally, or around the globe. Different Journalists would apply different standards of excellence when it comes to applying journalistic ethics and, thus, the public needs to be aware of this difference as well.

Another way to look at this subject is to divide the news media into two sections: news and opinions. News would be related to Reporters, and Opinion would be related to Journalists. Interestingly, when Journalists conducts a TV or radio program, they invite guests to contribute their opinion and analysis as well. The choice of whom to invite also sometimes reflects their own opinions and preferences, however, it is believed that they do so to the best of the ability while trying to follow journalistic ethics.

Different Journalists follow different standards. In the case of Reporters, they also must balance reporting sometimes. If an event that takes place requires stories or versions of two opposing sides to be presented, he could do that. This would bring out how two different sides perceive the same event. A columnist who is a Journalist needs to add some color to what news item he is referring to, or analyzing, from a distinct point of view which belongs to him. The columnist can also present both sides of the story but in practice, most columnist would tend to tilt towards one point of view more than the other.

The columnists, of course, write about the news once it has already been reported because they give a well-thought, reflective perspective of the issue at hand. As far as their opinion is concerned, that is the very purpose they write the column. Otherwise, without an opinion, it would, again, remain just a news report with no perspective at all. Interestingly, when many Journalists voice their opinions, they are considered ‘biased’ by some people. However, they are not necessarily biased. It is a part of their job. They are supposed to represent their point of view, whichever side it is on.

Fox News has a certain point of view, and many of the Journalists representing it reflect that point of view. Other TV channels have another class of Journalists working for them who would have a different point of view. They are not simply reporters, and that is why they have an opinion on every news item that they consider relevant. They put it forward, along with their perspective of looking at events. It is quite natural that different Journalists would have different views on abortion, sexual orientation, and other such matters, and as journalists, they are free to express those while commenting on these subjects. There come many times that the viewers feel that a news channel has some ax to grind, and that is why they are tilting towards a certain party. It is just a matter of opinion and how they see things from their perspective. This is simply Journalism and it is bound to be different from reporting. 3

Maintaining Standards

The columnist, or Journalist, are, of course, governed by the same set of rules as the Reporters when it comes to basing their stories on verified facts. The columnist must build on facts as they appear in the story. He can voice his opinion, but he cannot, and should not, play around with facts and figures, because they represent the reality of the situation, or event, and the entire opinion and analysis are built upon these are considered as the basis. Even if a columnist is quoting some other person, the data about this quote must be verified first to ascertain its authenticity. In case some errors are made, the columnist must not feel shy about retracting what he said and correct the information that was presented wrongly.

While there are universal standards that the columnists, and other Journalists voicing their opinion, which need to be followed, each news media outlet might have its own set of rules and standards set for their Journalist which need to be followed by their staff and all the Journalists who work at these media outlets. A Journalistic inquiry that is appropriate must be followed while remaining within the bounds of decency. For this reason, the Journalists do not have unlimited freedom to say or write whatever they want.

Over time, colonists and Journalists on Television, and other media, develop a certain fan following and, thus, the readers and the viewers tend to develop a personal relationship with them. At the core of it, is their ability to voice their own opinion and the opinion of those who follow them, which usually coincides in some ways to them. Even if it does not, the viewers and the readers trust and value their opinion, and are glad to be guided by it in developing their own perspective of the matters being voiced or discussed. 4

Thus, we see that, while factual accuracy and factual verification is at the core of both reporting and Journalism, there is a great amount of space available in Journalism to express one’s opinion which represents a certain side to different issues. However, keeping well in mind that there are bounds in terms of decency and requirement of an appropriate journalistic inquiry, which would guide and limit the Journalist’s writing, and TV or Radio presentations. The Reporters also are bound by standards of decency and are better off showing, or presenting, both sides of the story, if two versions of the same event seem to exist.


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