We Yone was actually absent at the press briefing organized by the UDM at which the National Chairman Mohamed Bangura opined We Yone has started campaigning ahead of the 2012 elections in contravention of established statutes.
Nevertheless, reports of the press briefing in some local newspapers past Friday imply the UDM leader wrongfully castigated We Yone.
What the UDM leader needs to understand is that We Yone is the official mouthpiece of the APC and not an independent newspaper.
As the official mouthpiece of the APC the predominant responsibility of the newspaper is to propagate the philosophy of the party alongside its position on issues of governance and to highlight the fulfillment of election promises to ensure better understanding between the people and the party.
The paper also serves to bring concerns of the people to the fore for the attention of the party hierarchy and their intervention. In very simple words, We Yone is a political paper and its content cannot be divorced of any form of political activity.
In carrying out its responsibilities, We Yone is obliged to high the activities of key party functionaries and by extension activities of institutions of government if these functionaries are members of government.
Consequently, since the APC was elected to governance in 2007 We Yone has been consistently reporting on the activities of the APC National Chairman/Leader Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma who is President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The paper has maintained sustained publications educating and informing the people on the achievements of President Koroma and the APC government and also APC MPs and councilors.
The paper articulates why people should espouse the political orientation of the APC.
We have repeatedly published various commentaries highlighting the virtues of President Koroma and in most instances such commentaries are placed with his picture. This is our duty. Infact, the best publication is the one that has the face of President Koroma on every page.
We Yone would obviously be reneging on its responsibilities if the content of our publications focus on issues that are of no political advantage to the APC and its functionaries.
Therefore it is foolhardy on the part of the UDM leader to demand that We Yone stops the publication of a full page portrait of the APC National Chairman/Leader and 2012 presidential candidate His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. According to the reports, his claim that such is tantamount to posting handbills across the country is misplaced. His threat to start posting his handbills across the country is unfortunate. What the UDM perhaps need to do is to register its own newspaper.
In the pages of most independent newspapers there are commentaries, with pictures of President Koroma, as to why people should vote him for a second term or not. Would the UDM leader consider such commentaries as campaign materials? If he does, are independent newspapers contravening any law?
I would not think along that line because newspapers are established to inform, educate and entertain. Political party newspapers inform, educate and entertain alongside promoting the greater acceptability of the party’s philosophy, its functionaries and its achievements.