By Mackie M. Jalloh
The Media Coordinating Group Sierra Leone (MRCG-SL), with sponsorship from Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF), on Thursday 13th October 2022, at the SLAJ Head Quarters, engaged media and communities to change the narrative on transitional justice issues in Sierra Leone.
National coordinator MRCG, DR. Francis Sowa, said that this project is about changing the narrative in transitional justice in Sierra Leone, furthering that as media practitioners, we’ve not been reporting issues on transitional justice. He defined transitional justice broadly as all efforts to help society deal with the legacy of mass human rights abuse, mechanisms and concerns that arise following a period of conflict, and that are aimed directly at confronting and dealing with past violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Dr Sowa also said, memorialization is also the process of creating a memorial for purposes of perpetuating the memory of a person, group of persons, incident, event or era, adding that it also means truth-telling; seeking justice; building a culture of democracy; commemorating previously marginalized histories and heritage; and recognizing victims and survivors of human rights violation.
He continued that in Freetown today, they are completing the third set of training, as they’ve reached out to various regions in the country. He assured that the trainers of this session will be very much active, and wished all a successful training
President of SLAJ, in his statement, said that as a media practitioner, before reporting about traditional justice, you have to get the knowledge and understanding first, and this is the reason for coordinating this training. He furthered that this training should be very important to all media practitioners, and then declared the training open.
Giving a professional definition of the topic, Prof Hindolo explained to journalist that transitional justice is the conception of justice associated with periods of political change, characterized by legal responses to confront the wrongdoing of repressive predecessor regimes. He furthered that what transitional justice is trying to do, is to encourage people or individuals to explain or say their minds on conflicts, and also to address impunity against victims.
Prof Hindolo expanded on the role of the media on transitional justice, adding that the media are the watchdogs for the public, as transitional justice is very crucial for the promotion of human rights and justice, peace and security, good governance and development. Speaking further on the role of the media, he said that the media has a vital role to play in translating the often complicated language of transitional justice into something widely accessibility, adding that another role is to help to shape public perception about the legitimacy of transitional justice mechanism, and monitor the implementation of transitional justice processes.
In conclusion of the training, Journalist were given the opportunity to write down their views of where the TRC should focus more, and a presentation was done.