A BILL ENTITLED
Short title: THE SIERRA LEONE BROADCASTING CORPORATION, ACT 2008
Being an Act to establish the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation and for other matters connected thereto:
Enacted by the President and Members of Parliament in this present Parliament assembled.
Parliament hereby declares that the passage of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, Act 2007 marks the establishment of a legal entity which shall be known as The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) is dedicated to the principles of public service, to democracy, and the overall development of the people of Sierra Leone. SLBC is an independent watchdog of all the branches of government, the private sector and civil society.
SLBC supports the consolidation of democracy and good governance in Sierra Leone through the provision of balanced, impartial news and current affairs programmes.
The staff of SLBC are committed professionals aiming to inform, educate, entertain and reflect all shades of opinion throughout the nation. SLBC observes strict political impartiality in all the programmes produced.
SLBC does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, ethnicity, religion or the lack of it.
SLBC is protected from interference of a political or economic nature by its Board of Trustees and its funding structure.
SLBC is accountable to the public through its independent Board of Trustees. The corporation values audience feedback on programmes,
SLBC seeks to remain independent in its broadcasts and choice of partners.
SLBC does not broadcast material likely to arouse panic.
SLBC respects the laws of Sierra Leone.
No one, public or private may impose the broadcasting of information or opinion on SLBC.
SLBC bases its operations on the international principles and practices set forth in the Media Code of Conduct of the Sierra Leone Independent Media Commission, which document derives its guiding principles from the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.
1.1.In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:
1.1.1. “Corporation” means the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation[ii], an autonomous legal entity established by this Act, to provide non-profit public broadcasting services in Sierra Leone in a business like, efficient and professional manner.
1.1.2. “President” means the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
1.1.3. “Minister” means the Minister responsible for Information and Broadcasting.
1.1.4. “Broadcasting” means radio (audio) and TV (video and audio) transmission via terrestrial transmitters, direct to home satellite, or cable, using analog or digital technologies, and transmission of multimedia content via internet, mobile phones or using other broadcasting technologies that may be developed in the future transmitted for direct public receiving by an unlimited number of users.
2. Establishment of Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation[iii]
2.1. The existing national broadcasting organization “Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service/Television (SLBS/TV)” is hereby transformed into a body corporate with out share capital to be known as the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, (hereafter referred to as “the Corporation”).
2.2. The Corporation shall have perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its name.
2.3. The Corporation shall have power for the discharge of any of its functions, to acquire and hold real or personal property, to dispose of such property, and to enter into any contract or other transaction.
2.4. Subject to this Act, the Corporation shall furthermore have power and authority to do or perform all such acts or things as bodies corporation may by law perform or do.
2.5. The Corporation shall be vested with and own the undertaking and assets of its legal predecessor, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service/Television, and shall be. responsible for all contracts and obligations of that entity, including the existing staff and employees at the date of commencement of this Act.
3. Objects of the Corporation
3.1. The objects of the Corporation are:
3.1.1. to undertake Broadcasting[iv];
3.1.2. to prepare in the field of culture, education, information and entertainment, programmes reflecting national progress and aspirations;
3.1.3. to broadcast the programmes prepared under paragraph (3.1.2) in the main Sierra Leone languages, in English and in such other foreign languages as the Corporation may determine;
3.1.4. to enter into agreement with other corporations, entities and individuals for the utilization of programmes prepared in other countries and vice versa; and
3.1.5. to carry out such other activities as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of all or any of the foregoing.
3.2. Without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (3.1), the Corporation shall have power to carry out all or any of the following activities:
3.2.1. to erect, maintain and operate transmitting and receiving stations;
3.2.2. to install broadcasting equipment and operate broadcasting equipment and broadcasting services;
3.2.3. to enter into arrangements with the competent authorities for the purpose of obtaining rights, privileges and concessions in connection with broadcasting;
3.2.4. to produce, manufacture, purchase or otherwise acquire films for television, information and communication technologies, gramophone and other mechanical or electronic materials and apparatus associated with broadcasting and to use them in connection with broadcasting;
3.2.5. to provide and to receive from other corporations and individuals materials for the purpose of broadcasting;
3.2.6. to organize and provide public entertainment for the purpose of broadcasting;
3.2.7. to collect news and other information in any manner that the Corporation thinks fit in any part of the world and to subscribe to news agencies and services;
3.2.8. to acquire copyrights;
3.2.9. to publish printed matters that may be conducive to the discharge of any of the functions of the Corporation;
3.2.10. to do such other things conducive to attaining the objects of the Corporation including the provision of facilities for training and education for the purpose of advancing the skills of persons employed by the Corporation and the carrying out of research to improve the physical and operational efficiency of any of the equipment of the Corporation.
3.3. In the course of discharging its mandate, the Corporation shall be guided by principles that will encourage the development of free and educated opinion, the respect for human rights, the rule of law and the Constitution. Furthermore, being a public broadcaster, the Corporation shall have regards to issues of public interest, support the democratic process and give balanced coverage during elections. The Corporation shall furthermore function without any political bias as well as act independently of any interest group or persons.
4. The Board
4.1. The governing body of the Corporation shall be a Board of Trustees (hereafter referred to as “the Board”) which shall not exceed 13 members, and who serve as unpaid honored volunteers in service to the nation.[v]
4.2. Subject to the provisions of the international principles and practices laid out in the Media Code of Conduct of the Independent Media Commission, the Board shall comprise one representative of the following:[vi]
4.2.1. Council of Paramount Chiefs
4.2.2. Inter-Religious Council
4.2.3. Women’s Forum
4.2.4. Sierra Leone Association of Journalists
4.2.5. Private Sectors - Chamber of Commerce[vii]
4.2.6. Private Sectors - Bar Association
4.2.7. Private Sectors - Representative of Private Broadcasting Industry
4.2.8. Region – North, nominated by the District Local Council[viii]
4.2.9. Region – East, nominated by the District Local Council
4.2.10. Region – South, nominated by the District Local Council
4.2.11. Region – West Urban, nominated by the District Local Council
4.2.12. Region – West Rural, nominated by the District Local Council
4.2.13. Youth Council[ix]
4.2.14. The Minister of Information, or other Government representative, ex-officio;[x]
4.2.15. The Director General of the Corporation, ex-officio.
4.3. The Corporation’s board members shall be qualified and experienced Sierra Leone citizens of highest integrity, knowledgeable with broad mind a successful track record in the public or in the private sector.[xi]
4.4. The Chairman and other voting members of the Board while holding office on the Board shall not:[xii]
4.4.1. Be an elected official;[xiii]
4.4.2. Hold any office in or be a member of any committee of any political organization;
4.4.3. Be in the employ of a government ministry at the rank of Minister, Deputy Minister, or Commissioners of parastatals;[xiv]
4.4.4. Offer himself as candidate or nominate[xv] any other person as candidate at any election of members of Parliament or any other body having for the time being authority either alone or in conjunction with any other body, to enact laws which have effect throughout Sierra Leone or to any Local Authority Committee;[xvi] and
4.4.5. Canvass on behalf of any political candidate.
4.4.6. While acting officially as a member of the Board, whether in meetings or in public, Board members may not engage in overt partisan politics, including, but not limited to:
126.96.36.199. Indicating publicly their support for, or opposition to, any political party or candidate, or to the political programmes of such party or candidates;
188.8.131.52. Publishing, or causing to be published any articles or other matter of a partisan political nature;
184.108.40.206. Speak in public, broadcast, or publicly post on the Internet on any subject of a partisan political nature;
220.127.116.11. Allow themselves to be interviewed or express any opinion for publication, in print or electronically, on any subject of a partisan political nature.
18.104.22.168. When acting as a private citizen, a distinction which must be clearly made, a Board member may engage in the above activities (22.214.171.124-.4) as part of their basic rights to freedom of speech.
4.4.7. Any contravention of the provisions of this sub-section may be construed and certified to be a serious misconduct in relation to the conduct of a member of the Board for the purposes of sub-section 4.9.4 and is liable for the punishment prescribed under the section under reference.
4.5. Selection of Board Members
4.5.1. Board members will be proposed for Presidential consideration by the aforementioned civil, business and media sector organizations and District Councils, representing a balanced cross-section of Sierra Leonean society, as per the list in 4.2, with special expertise relevant to the Board’s supervisory mandate, and must not violate any of the principles specified in article 4.4.[xvii]
126.96.36.199. The target should be an equal balance of women and men as members of the Board, with a minimum of 25% (which would be 3 out of 13 members), either women or men.[xviii]
4.5.2. The President approves the nominations (or rejects with cause, requesting substitute nominations) and sends the list to the Parliament’s Committee of Appointments for interviews and public hearings, which will then send the names of the recommended candidates to the Parliament for ratification.
4.6. The Chairman shall be selected from among the Board and by the Board members, annually.[xix]
4.7. The tenure for Board members will be four (4) years. At the first meeting of the Board, and after the selection of the Chairman, a lottery will be held to determine the tenure for the initial Board members. The Chairman will automatically have a four year term. For the other 13 members, 4 will have a four-year term, 4 will have a three-year term, and 4 will have a two-year term, in order to ensure continuity and smooth transaction of the business of the Board.[xx]
4.8. Board members shall be eligible for appointment to the Board for a maximum of two terms.
4.9. Without prejudice to sub-section 4.7 a member of the Board shall cease to be a member if he or she is deemed by the Board, subject to an outcome of an investigation carried out by, or under the auspices of the Board to have committed any of the following acts, which may be modified by the Board in its by-laws:[xxi]
4.9.1. If he suspends payment with his or her creditors
4.9.2. If he or she is absent from three or more consecutive meetings of the Board without reasonable grounds;
4.9.3. If he or she is unable to perform his or her duties either by reason of ill-health or otherwise or he or she misconducts himself;
4.9.4. If he or she is convicted of any criminal offense; or
4.9.5. Due to other reasons (s)/activity (ies) of which he or she is involved in whose effect is prejudicial to the interest of the Corporation.[xxii]
4.10. Any member of the Board may resign his office by notice in writing addressed to the Chairman of the Board.[xxiii]
4.11. Where the office of a member of the Board becomes vacant prior to the expiry of his full team of office, the President shall, upon the recommendation of the group or organization which nominated him, subject to the provisions of this Act, including the approval from the Parliament, appoint another person in his place to hold office for the unexpired portion of his term.[xxiv]
4.12. Subject to the provisions of sub-sections 5.8 and 5.9 all persons ceasing to be members of the Board at the end of their tenure, shall be eligible for re-appointment to the Board for a second and last time.
4.13. The Board may pay to its members and also to persons co-opted under sub-section (6.6) to attend any meeting of the Board, such subsistence, traveling and there allowances and at such rates as the Board may decide, with the principle that Board members serve as volunteers and are not paid for their services.[xxv]
5. Secretary of the Board
5.1. The Secretary to the Board shall be a person with legal and corporate governance competencies and need not be an employee of the Corporation.
6. Meeting of the Board
6.1. The Board shall ordinarily meet to transact its business at such times and places as the Chairman may determine but shall meet at least once every quarter. At least one Board meeting every year shall be held outside Freetown, in either the East, South or North districts.[xxvi]
6.2. A special meeting of the Board shall be called by the Secretary to the Board upon a request being made to him for that purpose in writing, signed by not less than four members of the Board.
6.3. At every meeting of the Board at which he is present, the Chairman shall preside and in his absence, a member of the Board appointed by the members present, from among themselves, shall preside.
6.4. Decisions at Board meetings shall be determined by consensus or by simple majority of votes by members present, should voting become necessary. In the event of votes tying after repeated voting, the Chairman of the meeting shall have a casting vote.
6.5. The quorum at any meeting of the Board shall be 50% plus one of the voting members (quorum of 7 for a full Board of 13 members),[xxvii] but no quorum shall be formed unless the Director General or his deputy is present at the meeting.
6.6. The Board may at any time co-opt any persons to act as adviser or advisers at any of its meetings but a person so co-opt shall not be entitled to vote at such meeting an any matter.
6.7. The validity of any proceedings of the Board shall not be affected by any vacancy among its members or by any defect in the appointment of any of them.
6.8. Any member of the Board who has any financial interest in any company or undertaking with which the Corporation proposes to enter into any contract or who has any financial interest in any contract under consideration by the Corporation, shall disclose to the Board in writing, the nature of the interest and shall be disqualified from participating in any deliberations of the Board on the contract or voting in any decision of the Board on such. contract.
6.9. Any contravention of the provisions of sub-section (6.8) may be construed and certified to be a serious misconduct in relation to the duties of a member of the Board for the purposes of sub-section (4.9).
7. Responsibilities Of the Board
7.1. The Board shall be responsible for:[xxviii]
7.1.1. The direction of the affairs of the Corporation;
7.1.2. Representing the interests of the general public in relation to national Broadcasting;
7.1.3. The conduct of corporate relations with the Government, its agencies and stakeholders;
7.1.4. Approval of strategic and business plans and budgets;
7.1.5. Monitoring and supervision of the Corporation’s activities;
7.1.6. Approval of internal policies and ensuring compliance with the Mission Statement;
7.1.7. Approve annual goals for the corporation;
7.1.8. The authorization, publishing and wide distribution of the Annual Report of the Corporation, along with externally audited accounts, for the Corporation. The Board shall formally place the Annual Report and externally audited accounts before the parliament for their consideration. Each Annual Report shall include the following information:[xxix]
188.8.131.52. a summary of the externally audited accounts, along with an overview of income and expenditure for the previous year;
184.108.40.206. information on any company or enterprise that is wholly or partly owned, whether directly or indirectly, by The Corporation;
220.127.116.11. the budget for the following year;
18.104.22.168. information relating to finance and administration;
22.214.171.124. the objectives of The Corporation for the previous year, the extent to which they have been met and its objectives for the upcoming year;
126.96.36.199. editorial policy of The Corporation;
188.8.131.52. a description of the activities undertaken by The Corporation during the previous year;
184.108.40.206. the Programme Schedule and any planned changes to it;
220.127.116.11. a list of programmes broadcast by The Corporation that were prepared by independent producers, including the names of the producers or production companies responsible for each independent production;
18.104.22.168. recommendations concerning public broadcasting; and
22.214.171.124. information on complaints by listeners, viewers, or users of services.
7.2. The Board may, for the purpose of assisting it in the performance of its functions, establish a Finance Committee; Programme and Technical Committee, Human Resources Committee and any other Committee as it may consider necessary. Activities which shall be executed by Board Committees shall be determined by the Board and shall include, but not be limited to the following:
7.2.1. establishment and revision of by-laws and other instruments made under section 15;
7.2.2. establishment of a Corporation Code of Practice, based on the Code of Practice as enacted by the IMC and as updated by the IMC or its successor, which shall include basic operational policies, procedures and manuals deemed necessary to guide management in running the Corporation in an ethical, impartial and publicly accountable manner;
7.2.3. establishment of staff and administrative policies, procedures and manuals;
7.2.4. establishment of financial and internal audit policies, procedures and guidelines.
7.2.5. Board Committees shall make recommendations for decisions to be made by the full board.[xxx]
7.3. The Board shall not involve itself with the day-to-day management of the Corporation or interfere with its editorial independence, except in cases of breach of this Act, any other applicable law or the Code of Practice, as enacted by the IMC and as updated by the IMC or its successor.[xxxi]
7.4. The Board’s consent shall be necessary for:
7.4.1. the conclusion of service contracts with the Director General, the Deputy Director General and any other employees whose salary exceeds the highest class of the staff salary scale;
7.4.2. the conclusion of trade union agreements;
7.4.3. the acquisition and sale of companies or of shares therein;
7.4.4. the acquisition, sale and mortgage of property;
7.4.5. the taking up of bank credits and the granting of financial guarantees and securities;
7.4.6. the conclusion of contracts concerning investments, other than in programming;
7.4.7. the expenditure of any money not provided for in the approved budgets; and
7.4.8. the approval of any single expenditure above the equivalent of US$250,000.[xxxii]
8. Director General and Deputy Director General of the Corporation
8.1. There shall be a Director General to the Corporation who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation and shall be responsible to the board for the day to day management of the corporation, and who serves as an ex-officio member of the Board.[xxxiii]
8.2. There shall also be a Deputy Director General of the Corporation who shall have the competency and experience that will enable him to perform the duties of the Director General subject to the provisions of this Act.
8.2.1. He shall be charged with the performance of any of the functions of the Director General when the Director General is absent from Sierra Leone or is otherwise incapacitated from performing his functions; and
8.2.2. otherwise assist the Director General in the performance of his functions and perform such functions as the Director General may delegate to him and accordingly, unless the context otherwise requires, any reference in this Act to Director General shall include a reference to the Deputy Director General.
8.3. The Director General and the Deputy Director General shall be appointment by the Board on terms and conditions to be determined by the Board.
8.4. The Director General and the Deputy Director General shall hold and vacate office upon such terms and conditions as the Board may determine.
8.5. A person to be appointed Director General/Deputy Director General of the Corporation shall be a person who has experience and demonstrated competence in successful running of public and /or private commercial enterprises in, among others, utilities, industry, commercial services, including broadcasting, etc.
8.6. The Director General shall exercise supervision and control over the acts of all employees of the Corporation and be responsible for disposing of all questions relating to the pay, privileges and allowances of the Corporation’s employees as laid down by the Board.
8.7. Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Director General shall be responsible for the implementation of the Corporation’s policies, by-laws, other instruments and objectives in the day-to-day operations of the affairs of the Corporation.
8.8. The Director General may sign contracts on behalf of the Board for such things as employee contracts, leases, service contracts, and others as determined by and within the guidelines and parameters set forth by the Board.[xxxiv]
8.9. The Board shall conduct an annual review of the Director General with a view to assessing his or her performance and to providing feedback on it.[xxxv]
8.9.1. The annual review referred to in sub-section 8.9 shall be published and widely disseminated.
8.10. The Director General will be responsible for striving to attain ISAS BC 9001 certification (based on ISO 9001, but tailored for broadcasters) for the Corporation. Progress toward which will be part of his or her annual evaluation.[xxxvi]
9. Other Staff
9.1. The Director General may from time to time appoint such employees as may be necessary for the proper and efficient conduct of the business and function of the Corporation within the staff budget set by the Board.
9.2. Employees of the Corporation shall be employed on contract and shall, subject to contract terms, hold and vacate office upon such terms and conditions as the Board may determine.
9.3. The Corporation may also engage the service of such consultants, advisers and other persons and upon such conditions as the Board may determine.
9.4. The Corporation shall have an Internal Auditor who shall be appointed by the Board.
9.4.1. Subject to the provisions of this Act an Internal Auditor shall be responsible to the Board in the performance of his functions.
9.4.2. As part of his functions under this Act, an Internal Auditor shall, at intervals of three months, prepare a report on the internal audit work carried out by him during the period of three months immediately preceding the preparation of the report and shall, as soon as practicable after the preparation of the report, submit the report to the Chairman of the Board, and copied to the Director General.[xxxvii]
9.4.3. The Chairman of the Board shall, as soon as practicable after receiving any report submitted to him under sub-section 9.4.2, forward a copy of the report to the Corporation’s External Auditors.
9.4.4. Without prejudice to the generality of 9.4.3, an Internal Auditor shall make, in each report, such observations as appears to him necessary as to the conduct of the financial affairs of the Corporation during the period to which the report relates.
9.5. The Corporation shall have an Ombudsman who shall be appointed by the Board.[xxxviii]
9.5.1. Subject to the provisions of this Act the Ombudsman shall be responsible to the Board in the performance of his or her functions.
9.5.2. The Ombudsman will be responsible for handling all complaints, based on the process described in 9.5.3, and provide regular reports to the Board and the Director General.
9.5.3. The Board shall set the details of the complaints process and how those complaints shall be handled.
9.5.4. The Corporation shall develop a Code of Broadcasting Practice in consultation with interested stakeholders which shall govern its broadcasting practices and programme content.
126.96.36.199. The Code referred to in sub-section 9.5.2 shall, among other things, address the following issues:
188.8.131.52.1. accuracy, balance and fairness;
184.108.40.206.2. privacy, harassment and subterfuge;
220.127.116.11.3. protection of children and scheduling;
18.104.22.168.4. portrayal of sexual conduct and violence, and the use of strong language;
22.214.171.124.5. treatment of victims and those in grief;
126.96.36.199.6. portrayal of criminal or anti-social behaviour;
188.8.131.52.8. financial issues such as payment for information and conflicts of interest;
184.108.40.206.9. discrimination; and
220.127.116.11.10. leaked material and the protection of sources.
18.104.22.168. Individuals may lodge a complaint against The Corporation for breach of the Code referred to in sub-section 9.5.2 and such complaints shall be dealt with by The Corporation, through the office of the Ombudsman, in a fair and balanced manner.
22.214.171.124. To give effect to sub-section 126.96.36.199, the Ombudsman shall establish an internal procedure for processing complaints.
188.8.131.52. The procedure provided for in sub-section 184.108.40.206 shall provide for a range of remedies appropriate to any breach including rectification of any false statements of fact, a right of reply and apologies.
220.127.116.11. Lodging an internal complaint shall not preclude an individual from pursuing any other remedies which may be available.
9.6. The terms of service of management and staff shall reflect market conditions, in order to attract and retain staff with requisite competencies and experience and shall be determined by the Board.[xxxix]
10. National Requirement of the Corporation
10.1. It shall be the duty of the Corporation to provide, as a public service, independent and impartial Broadcasting services[xl] for general reception throughout Sierra Leone, which will include a minimum level of regional programmes broadcast nationally each week.
10.2. The Corporation shall, in Collaboration with such institution or institutions as may be appropriate, provide external Radio and Television services through transmission for general reception in countries and places outside Sierra Leone .
10.3. The Corporation shall not engage in commercial advertising on its publicly funded broadcast channels. It does have the right to seek limited sponsorship in which the sponsors name and official slogan is given, but in which no specific products, inducements to buy or comparative language is allowed. News programming in particular must always be protected from the perception of influence such that no sponsorship is allowed for news programs. No sponsorship may be accepted from political, ethnic, or religious groups or institutions.[xli]
10.4. The corporation shall provide at least:
10.4.1. National free-to-air television channel, as well as any number of satellite, cable or other subscription or pay-as-you-go services.
10.4.2. National free-to-air radio channel.
10.4.3. The Corporation shall be free to create brands for specific channels using names that do not include SLBC, but are clearly identified periodically as being owned by SLBC.
10.5. The corporation shall adhere at all times to the Code of Practice adopted by the Board containing its broadcasting policies and programme content, including a full complaints procedure for viewers and listeners.
10.5.1. The Corporation shall to keep a master recording of all programmes broadcast for at least twenty-eight (28) days after they have been broadcast.[xlii]
10.5.1.1. Where specific broadcast material is the subject of a dispute or complaint, The Corporation shall keep a master recording of that broadcast material until the matter has been fully resolved.
10.5.1.2. The Corporation shall establish a broadcasting archive, maintaining a store of material that is likely to be of historical interest to the people of Sierra Leone.
10.5.1.3. The Corporation shall, within its resources, endeavour to make as much of this archival material as possible available over the Internet.
10.5.2. The corporation shall apply for a license to broadcast for any new frequencies it requires from the appropriate authority.
10.5.3. The corporation shall be subject to the authority and decisions of the regulatory body, the Independent Media Commission, for matters concerning compliance with its code of practice and any anti –competitive behaviour which it is deemed to be involved in.[xliii]
10.5.3.1. The IMC shall monitor whether or not The Corporation has complied with its obligations under the provisions of this law in relation to: programming from independent producers, anti-competitive behaviour, advertising, sponsorship, public review of The Corporation, complaints, archives; and political advertising.
10.5.3.2. Where the IMC has reasonable grounds to believe that The Corporation is in breach of one of the obligations specified in sub-section 10.4.5.1, it shall refer the matter to the Board, along with any views it may have as to the manner in which the breach should be addressed.
10.5.3.3. Where a period of more than three months has passed since the IMC has referred a matter to the Board pursuant to sub-section 10.4.5.2, and steps have not been put in place with a view to addressing the breach, the IMC shall have the power to refer the matter to the courts.
10.6. The Corporation shall frequently seek the input from the public about its programming and activities.[xliv]
10.6.1. The Corporation shall hold annual public meetings in each of the five Districts in which the Corporation will present its annual report in an accessible format, and seek comments, suggestions, and criticisms from the public.
10.6.2. The Corporation shall, at least once every two years, engage in a national randomly sampled audience survey to determine listenership, interests, reactions to programmes, and other data that will be used to refine the programme schedule.
10.6.3. The Corporation shall utilize standard communications feedback, such as focus groups, to provide in-depth evaluations of selected programmes.
11. Output Requirement[xlv]
11.1.1. The Corporation has an overall mandate to provide a wide range of programming for the whole territory of Sierra Leone that informs, enlightens and entertains, and that serves all the people of Sierra Leone, taking into account ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.
11.1.2. The Corporation shall provide innovative and high quality broadcasting, which reflects the range of views and perspectives held in society, satisfies the needs and interests of the general public in relation to informative broadcasting, and complements programming provided by private broadcasters.
11.1.3. To fulfill its public service broadcasting role, The Corporation shall strive to provide a broadcasting service that:
18.104.22.168. is independent of governmental, political or economic control, reflects editorial integrity and does not present the views or opinions of The Corporation;
22.214.171.124. includes comprehensive, impartial and balanced news and current affairs programming, including during prime time, covering national and international events of general public interest;
126.96.36.199. contributes to a sense of national identity, while reflecting and recognising the cultural diversity of Sierra Leone;
188.8.131.52. gives a voice to all ethnic groups and minorities, including through the establishment of Ethnic/Minority Programming Services and the provision of programming in ethnic/minority languages;
184.108.40.206. strikes a balance between programming of wide appeal and specialised programmes that serve the needs of different audiences;
220.127.116.11. provides appropriate coverage of the proceedings of key decision-making bodies, including of the Parliament;
18.104.22.168. includes programmes that are of interest to different regions;
22.214.171.124. ensures the diffusion of important public announcements;
126.96.36.199. provides a reasonable proportion of educational programmes and programmes oriented towards children;
188.8.131.52. promotes programme production within Sierra Leone; and
184.108.40.206. contributes to informed debate and critical thought.
11.1.4. To encourage and promote programme production within Sierra Leone, and to ensure that its programmes reflect a wide variety of views and perspectives, The Corporation shall work towards the goal of obtaining 25% of its total broadcasting from independent producers based in Sierra Leone.
11.1.5. Political Advertisements[xlvi]
220.127.116.11. Except in accordance with the current law governing elections and/or any rules promulgated by the body responsible for overseeing elections, the Corporation shall not carry any advertisement for, or on behalf of, any political party or candidate for election to political office.
12. Funds of the Corporation
12.1. The funds of the corporation shall include:
12.1.1. Grants made by the Government to the Corporation from the consolidated fund. Such grants, the amount of which shall be decided by parliament as part of the debate on the Annual Report on the corporation’s finances and activities, will be budgeted on a three-year basis, but allocated annually, as a lump sum indexed to inflation, at the beginning of the Corporation’s financial year. This three-year budget will represent the base funding for the operational costs of the Corporation. Additional grants for special projects or infrastructural investments may be requested and made on an annual basis.[xlvii]
12.1.2. Revenue derived in part from fees to the State for telecommunications broadcasting licenses, including radio and television stations and mobile phone providers. The amount or percentage to be set in future legislation as an amendment to this bill.[xlviii]
12.1.3. Parliament may add other funding sources for the Corporation via tariffs and fees.
12.1.4. All funds received through fees or tariffs shall be held by a Public Broadcasting Trust Fund, which is hereby established. The Board of the Corporation and the IMC will each appoint members to serve as the trustees of the Trust Fund and determine how the revenues are to be used by the public broadcaster.[xlix]
12.1.5. Grants, donations and contributions from international and national donors.[l]
12.1.6. Loans negotiated by the board on behalf of the corporation.
12.1.7. Commercial activities of the corporation.
12.1.8. Any other monies accruing to the corporation in the course of the discharge of its functions.
12.2. All monies received by the corporation shall be deposited to the credit of the Corporation in a bank to be approved by the Board.
12.3. No loans shall be raised by the Corporation except with the prior approval of the board.
12.4. No requests for donations and grants shall be made without the approval of the Board.
12.5. The Corporation shall invest excess money in Treasury Bills and/or in such other secure avenues as the Board will determine from time to time.
12.6. The corporation may not use its public funding to subsidise any commercial services it provides, although it may subsidise its public service operations with profits from its commercial services.
13.1. The corporation shall keep proper accounts and proper records in relation thereto.
13.2. The corporation shall prepare, in respect of each financial year a statement of account which shall include a balance sheet, a statement of income and expenditure and a statement of cash flows containing such information as would be provided by a company registered under cap 249[li] of the companies act to be laid before members at an annual meeting, and such other information in respect of the financial affairs of the corporation as the Board may require. These reports will provide clear separate accounting information for the commercial and non-commercial funds.[lii]
13.3. The corporation shall as soon as possible, but within six months after the end of each financial year, submit to the board an annual report which shall include audited financial statements/statements of accounts specified in sub section 13.2. The Board shall, also a soon as practicable, within four[liii] months after the end of the financial year, cause the Annual Report, detailed in 7.1.8. to be laid before Parliament.
13.4. The Annual Report, detailed in 7.1.8. shall contain a full report on the corporation's finances and activities, including reports on it's compliance with the code of practice, its editorial policy, objectives and targets for the next year, budget for next year (including estimated government grant) summary reports of complaints, etc.
13.5. For the purposes of this section, the financial year of the corporation shall begin on the first day of January and end on the thirty-first day of December.
14.1. The books and accounts of the corporation shall be audited each year by an External Auditing Firm appointed by the board.
14.2. The External Auditing Firm shall, not later than the 31st day of March in each year, forward to the Board a copy of the audited accounts of the Corporation for the Financial year ending the 31st day of December immediately preceding this report.
14.3. The External Auditor appointed by the Board shall report annually to the Board the result of his examination of the accounts and financial statements of the Corporation and the report shall state whether in his/her opinion:
14.3.1. proper books of accounts have been kept by the Corporation;
14.3.2. the financial statements of the Corporation:
18.104.22.168. were prepared on a basis consistent with that of the preceding year and is in agreement with the books account;
22.214.171.124. in the case of the balance sheet, gives a true and fair view of the income and expenditure or profit and loss of the Corporation’s affairs as at the end of the financial year;
126.96.36.199. in the case of the statement of income and expenditure, gives a true and fair view of the income and expenditure or profit and loss of the Corporation for the financial year under review;
14.3.3. The External Auditor appointed by the Board shall call the attention of the Board to any other matter falling within the scope of his examination which in its opinion, should be brought to the attention of the Board.
14.3.4. The External Auditor appointed by the Board shall, from time to time submit to the Corporation such other reports as may be deemed necessary or as the Board may require.
14.3.5. The report of the External Auditor shall be stated in the Annual Report of the Corporation.
17. Power to Make by-laws And other Instruments
17.1. The Board may by statutory instrument make by-laws and other instruments not being in consistent with the provisions of this Act for the purpose of regulating or any matter falling within the scope of the functions of the corporation and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, such by-laws or other instruments may regulate the application of the Corporation's seal to legal documents and may also regulate the conditions of service of the employees of the Corporation.
18. Resolution and transfer of assets and liabilities
18.1. The Ministry of Information and Communication’s broadcasting service known immediately before the commencement of this Act as the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (radio and TV) is hereby dissolved.[lvi]
18.2. All assets, rights and liabilities of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (radio and TV) are hereby transferred to the Corporation from the Government of Sierra Leone.
18.3. The Director-General, the Deputy Director and all employees of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service holding office immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be terminated subject to the provisions of this Act.
18.3.1. An independent audit of the assets of the existing SLBS (radio and TV) will be undertaken by the Ministry of Information and Communication upon promulgation of this Act, if not completed before the act is approved. The audit will include property, buildings, towers, equipment, as well as all cash assets and liabilities. This will include creating an accurate list of staff who are currently working, their positions/titles, current contract type and duration, total years of service, and liability for severance for each staff and in total.
18.3.2. The pensionable staff serving at SLBS upon the formation of the Corporation will be given the choice of being re-deployed or terminated from their civil service contracts and to receive severance if they choose to terminate.
18.3.3. Contracted staff of SLBS will be be terminated with severance.
18.3.4. Freelance staff will be terminated with no severance.
18.3.5. The Corporation, will restructure, reorganize, and hire new staff as employees of the corporation, as required by the Corporation’s business and organizational plan. Former pensionable, contract, and freelance staff are welcome to apply.
18.4. Any reference to any enactment in existence at the commencement of this Act to the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service shall be construed as a reference to the Corporation established by this Act.
MADE this ...............day of ........2008
OBJECTS AND REASONS
The object of this bill is to establish the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation
as an autonomous body to be run in a business like manner as modern,
professional and efficient broadcasting company.
The bill further seeks to put the Corporation on the same level as other private broadcasting institutions ensuring that, as much as is reasonably practicable, it is devoid of political influence and control.
The Corporation shall comply with the Independent Media Commission's Code of Practice.
[i] Added the Mission Statement.
[ii] Name depends on final decision for name of the corporation.
[iii] Name depends on final decision for name of the corporation.
[iv] “Broadcasting” replaces “ Radio and Television broadcasts” because the term is already defined in the Interpretations, 2.
[v] Added the phrase, “and who serve as unpaid honored volunteers in service to the nation.”
[vi] Removed the following and substituted as in the text, “Subject to the provisions of the National Commission for Privatisation Act, 2002, the Board shall comprise one or more representative (s) – as indicated, of the following:-”
[vii] Aded specific organizations to the Private Sectors.
[viii] Specified each of the four regions, one per line, and included the West as well, as this is the only quasi-political representation and excluding one of the four districts makes little structural sense; having all four also indirectly assures an opposition voice is at the table, which would be (say) the South in one regime, the West is another.
[ix] Added the Youth council, in order to have a youth representative on the Board.
[x] Best to specify the Government representative. Also, the Government rep and the Director General should be ex-officio members, that is non-voting, and do not count in the quorum.
[xi] Removed, “A person who directly or indirectly exercises control over any broadcasting license holder shall not be eligible for consideration of board membership.” Because a representative from the private broadcast industry should be a member of the Board.
[xii] Moved this section up closer to the list of organizations that nominate the members so they will clearly see the criteria for members before appointing them.
[xiii] Added this paragraph.
[xiv] Added this article.
[xv] Added, “or nominate”
[xvi] Removed the following articles as they would appear to be a contravention of members’ Constitutional rights as citizens and dependent on subjective judgement of meaning of ‘support’ and ‘opposition’ and hence ultimately non-enforceable:
“indicate publicly their support for, or opposition to, any political party or candidate or to the political progammes of such party or candidate;”
“publish or cause to be published any articles or other matter of a partisan political nature;”
“speak in public or broadcast on any subject of a partisan political nature;”
“allow themselves to be interviewed or express any opinion for publication or any subject of a partisan political nature.”
[xvii] Removed, “Nominations of candidates for appointment to the Board of. the Corporation shall be made by NCP and recommended to the President for appointment.” and, replaced with the text in 5.4.1 and 5.4.2.
[xviii] Added specific percentage of women in order to have another criteria for a “cross section of Sierra Leonean society.”
[xix] Added annually.
[xx] Replaced the following, “The tenure for the initial Board members of the Board shall be staggered as follows:- One third of the Board members including the Chairman shall have a four year tenure, while .the second and the third shall have tenures of three and two years, to ensure continuity and smooth transaction of the business of the Board.”
[xxi] Changed and removed the reference to NCP, “Without prejudice to sub-section (5) a member of the Board other than the Director General shall cease to be a member by order of the President on recommendation of the Chairman of the NCP”
[xxii] Removed this paragraph as it is redundant. “A member of the Board who misconducts himself will be punished through recommendation for his removal from the Board, subject to an outcome of an investigation carried out by, or under the auspices of the Board.”
[xxiii] Removed, “other than the Director General,” as the Director General is not a voting member of the Board
[xxiv] Removed, “of NCP, subject to the provisions of this Act, “ and replaced with, “of the group or organization which nominated him, subject to the provisions of this Act, including the approval from the legislature,”.
[xxv] Removed, “with the approval of NCP.” and replaced with “with the principle that Board members serve as volunteers and are not paid for their services.”
[xxvi] Added this sentence, “At least one Board meeting every year shall be held outside Freetown, in either the East, South or North districts.”
[xxvii] Removed “four” for the quorum and replaced it with, “50% plus one of the voting members (quorum of 7 for a full Board of 13 members).”
[xxviii] Changed the formatting from a paragraph to a list in order to highlight each responsibility. Also, added the last two responsibilities in the list.
[xxix] Expanded details of the Annual Report. The paragraph originally said, “the authorization of the annual report of the Corporation.”
[xxx] Changed the formatting from a paragraph with no reference number to one with a sub-section number.
[xxxi] Added the last phrase, “as enacted by the IMC and as updated by the IMC or its successor.”
[xxxii] Added this sub-section.
[xxxiii] Added, “and who serves as an ex-officio member of the Board.”
[xxxiv] Added this last article.
[xxxv] Added this paragraph and the following one.
[xxxvi] Added this paragraph. See http://www.certimedia.org/, http://www.wemfmedia.org/qualitycert.htm , http://www.media-society.org/ and http://www.isas.org/data-bases/isas-bc-9001-broadcasting-industry.html
[xxxvii] Added, “and copied to the Director-General.”
[xxxviii] Added this and the subsequent sub-articles related to the Ombudsman.
[xxxix] This was an unlabeled paragraph, it was moved to a sub-section status.
[xl] Removed, “(Radio and Television)”, as the term Broadcasting is already defined.
[xli] Removed the following subsection, was 10(3), “The corporation may engage in commercial broadcasting through the sale of paid advertisements scheduled at prescribed spots in its programme service, provided that it adheres to regulations on advertising in the code of practice.” This was removed because, it is unfair to private broadcasters who are not subsidized by the State and by donors, and unnecessary economically.
[xlii] This section replaces, “The corporation shall keep recorded copies of all programmes it makes for at lease three months and in case of complaints, until the matter has been resolved.”
[xliii] Added this section.
[xliv] Added this section.
[xlv] This section was weak on one level, and too specific on another. The output sub-sections provided here come from the Article 19 Model Public Service Broadcasting Law. The sub-sections removed are:
11.(1) In its public service broadcasting, the corporation may provide for:
(a) Government pronouncements, that is, speeches by members of Parliament and Ministers consisting of statements of fact or and actions of the Government;
(b) Party political speeches dealing with the views and policies of the various political parties.
(c) Speeches expressing different points of view on matters of controversy;
(d) Matters of any kind (including religious services or ceremonies) representing the main stream of religious thought or belief in the country.
(2) In its broadcasting of the items mentioned in sub-section (1), the corporation shall allocate and apportion air-time equitably between the parties, with right of reply in appropriate cases, points of view and religious bodies according to their respective claims upon the interest of members of the public of Sierra Leone.
[xlvi] Added statement on political advertisements. Note that this must refer to the election law.
[xlvii] This paragraph was changed, it originally said, “grants made by the Government to the corporation from the consolidated fund, the amount of which shall be decided each year by parliament as part of the debate on the Annual Report on the corporation’s finances and activities in section 13 below.”
With that statement, the budget of the new Corporation would be almost wholly dependent on annual appropriations from the legislature, under no fixed formulae or baseline guarantees, which will make SLBC inherently unstable financially, and further dependent on the good graces of the dominant political party.
Funding appropriations/contributions from the parliament should be on a continuing multiyear basis with a guaranteed minimum contribution for core operations, with the option of seeking additional legislative appropriations for special projects or infrastructural investments. This should be an annual lump sum contribution from the Government as ONE fixed annual appropriation indexed linked to the rate of inflation, part of the standard yearly government budget package. The funds are then wholly under the control of the corporation and its own accounting rules and regulations, but the corporation provides annual audited reports to the legislature.
[xlviii] Added this paragraph. Public funding should also be derived in part from fees to the state for telecommunications broadcasting licenses, including radio and television stations and mobile phone providers as well; this is a model used in several countries, under the principle that the private telecom/commercial broadcast industry is subsidizing public service radio/TV as a quid pro quo for its profitable use of public airwaves. Two other options are to provide the SLBC, or a trust fund, with a fixed fraction of a percent of a future VAT, or to add a tariff for public broadcasting to the electricity bills.
[xlix] Added this article.
[l] Added this paragraph.
[li] What does this refer too?
[lii] Added the last line about commercial and non-commercial accounting.
[liii] Was six months, which is too long to wait for the annual report. Four months gives the external auditors three months to complete their audit, during which the bulk of the Annual Report is written by the Corporation and approved by the Board, and then one month to add any comments from the audit.
[liv] Removed two sections - Authority to enter land, and Interference with wires, etc. Of Corporation. These both relate to a power, telephone, or cable TV company, not to a broadcaster.
[lv] The entire section quoted below this endnote should be removed this law, and provisions for emergency broadcasting made in a separate law that apply to all broadcasters. See the Critique for more discussion on this issue.
“Public emergency, S.29 (6), Of Act, No. 6 of 1991
17. (1) Whenever in the opinion of the President, a state .of public is imminent or has commenced, the. President may in the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by the constitution, at any time, authorize the taking of possession or control of the Corporation on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone.
(2) Where any emergency has been declared under sub- section (1).
(a) the Board may give such directions to the Corporation as the President may deem it necessary to meet the requirements of the emergency so declared, and the corporation shall give effect to such directions.
(b) the Government may take over the Broadcasting Service of the Corporation but it shall only do so by specific demand made in that respect by the president.”
[lvi] Changed the name of the Ministry to Information and Communication, rather than Broadcasting, and made it possessive, and added, “Communication’s broadcasting service, “ so as to not read that the Ministry of Information and Communication is to be dissolved.