A mutually beneficial relationship between one of the country’s leading financial institutions, Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB) and the Media has been sealed last Friday in Freetown. The ceremony called a ‘Meet-and-Greet’ session took place at the Bank’s Beach House in Goderich community, West of Freetown.
The scenery at the Beach House is pleasant and amusing with one of the key initiatives, Rokel Sim Korpor at the forefront of a shining post. It was a moment of friendly and warm interaction between the Guild of editors and RCB for a better Sierra Leone economy, and hopes ride high that the interaction would heal old wounds and create new friends.
The media is always is an essential tool for the banking industry as it informs and educate the people on the contributions of banks to the economy of Sierra Leone. RCB targets print media for the partnership, and editors of various newspapers attended the ceremony including the Chairman, Guild of Editors and President for the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ).
Women in the Media Sierra Leone, a sub-set of Sierra Leone association of female Journalists were also represented at the ceremony. In his address during the occasion, RCB’s Managing Director, Mr Gilpin called on journalists to embrace a healthy relation with the bank within the framework of helping the economy of Sierra Leone. Media reportage, The MD said, would go a long way to determine the investment climate in the country.
“When foreign investors who want to invest in Sierra Leone read a bad publication about the banking system, they would probably decide not to come to the country,” he said.
In such a situation, he says, is the country’s economy that suffers, and it does no good to Sierra Leoneans. The MD hopes that with an enhanced relationship with the media, media practitioners would exercise due care and consideration in the reportage of financial activities of RCB. He assured journalists that his institution wants to see big media institutions in Sierra Leone adding that it is the main reason RCB gives out adverts to media institutions especially newspapers.
“When RCB gives out adverts to newspapers, the bank helps newspapers to grow. Similarly, when the media presents good reports about the Bank, it helps the bank to grow. This is a mutually beneficial relationship,” he emphasised.
He concluded by reiterating his call for beneficial partnership with the media for the betterment of Sierra Leone. In his contribution, Chairman, Guild of Editors, Donald Theo Harding told RCB officials that the Media is now ever determined to work with RCB for a better Sierra Leone.
He appealed to the RCB MD to put in place modalities for training on business and finance reporting so that media practitioners can report accurately on activities of the banking industry especially activities of Rokel Commercial Bank.
Mr Harding also appealed to journalists to work with RCB to get the most accurate information to be put out within public domain. It is hoped that a strong relationship between the media and Rokel Bank would enhance efficient and effective reporting on the banking industry which Rokel Bank has dominated for a number of years.
Sierra Leone, over the years, is known for its low reporting on business and finance matters by media practitioners. Two media institutions were singled out by the Editors’ Chairman for carrying business and finance stories, but those stories, he said, were not enough to educate the masses on what goes on in the banking industry.
The expected relationship between the media and Rokel Bank would produce a better reporting on the activities of the banking industry with Rokel Bank at the forefront. Mr Harding also called on RCB to engage the media in meaningful investment so that the relationship could be taken to higher heights.
One of the key areas recommended for investment is the importation of printing presses or machines to have quality newspapers in the country.
Chairman Harding also spoke on the poor quality of printing for newspapers in Sierra Leone noting that such a trend can undermine media reportage and information sharing to the audience.
“Most newspapers in the country, have blurred images and photos making it difficult for people to understand what the news is about,” he emphasised.
The issue of media poverty which has become endemic is also equally considered as a principal factor that affects media growth and professionalism in Sierra Leone. The call for investment in the media very much resonate with the main objective of the repeal of the country’s seditious and Libel laws. National debates and discussions have shown that the existence of criminal libel laws has stalled meaning investment over the years.
The fear has to do with the media lawsuits that would follow in an event a libelous or seditious story is published unintentionally. President for the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla also made his contribution during the ceremony. He also urged media professionals to cooperate with Rokel Bank so that to ensure a good working relationship.
The appeal for cooperation is by no means an under-reporting of RCB’s activities, but positive and fair media reportage on important activities undertaken by the bank. RCB is one of the leading financial institutions in Sierra Leone which has significantly contributed to the banking industry and the country’s economy at large.
The bank has brought in several media initiatives to ensure an increased customer base in the world of banking. Owing to its prudent management style, the bank has brought home several laurels in the forms of awards and prizes. The bank is also expected to bag home enviable and proud prizes, this year, owing to satisfactory performance.