By Alimatu Fofanah
At least twenty media officials and journalists from Sierra Leone are currently benefitting from a twenty-days training in Beijing, China.
The training programme is organized by the Research and Training Institute of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).
Deputy Director General of SAPPRFT, Yan Chengsheng educated Sierra Leonean journalists and media officials on the development of the Chinese radio, film and television industry as well as its international cooperation and exchange situation to date.
He dilated on the historical development of the Chinese electronic media, which he said dated as far back as 1923 when the first radio station was established in Shanghai by a Japanese national.
He likened the development to Africa, where he said, the media was established by the colonial masters and that China shares similar historical background with other developing countries.
Mr. Chengsheng underscored the importance of media for national development and cohesion, stating unequivocally that the Chinese media is being exclusively controlled by the government.
He noted that despite the fact that the media is being controlled by the government, journalists are free to write against the system responsibly by applying all ethical means and principles.
He stated that any serious developing nation should be focused on building their economies and seeking the needs and aspirations of its people and that the media should be a partner in development and not a distracting instrument.
Negative press, he fumed, could definitely be an obstacle to this effort with a tendency to distract the Chinese government, which he noted is in a move to meet her development aspirations.
SAPPRFT is the largest educational research institute for media and has trained over 2,300 journalists from several developing countries across the world, which Sierra Leone is not an exception.
Mr. Li Shaoxin, Party Secretary of the Research and Training Institute of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and TV, in China inundated the participants with the importance of the seminar, welcoming the delegates from Sierra Leone whom he noted are long term friends and partners.
The two countries, he added, have shared bilateral ties spanning over four decades.
He encouraged the participants to feel relaxed, as he assured them that the organizers will do everything within their mandates to ensure the training becomes a success.
Mr. Austin Allan Thomas, Sports Editor Awoko Newspaper , Sierra Leone made salient contributions for and on behalf of the participants as team leader of the twenty-man delegation from Sierra Leone.
The Director of International Training Department of the Research and Training Institute, Zhu Jiadi,the Seminar Coordinators, Guo Sheng Yang-Project Manager, International Training Department and Ma Ao-Project Manager,
International Training Department made considerable efforts to make the opening ceremony a success.
The training is being sponsored by the Chinese Government through the Ministry of Commerce.