The above is part of the European Union Observation Mission to Sierra Leone (EU- EOM SL) final report on Sierra Leone’s 2018 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections, issued recently.
The EU EOM Sierra Leone 2018 Report also states that during the first-round electoral campaign, the media regularly and intensively covered the election process, political parties and candidates in a variety of news and talk shows, as well as in paid advertising and free airtime programmes.
In a positive development, on 15 February, three TV channels and 40 radio stations broadcast countrywide a debate (championed by AYV) between six presidential candidates whose parties had nominated candidates for parliamentary elections in at least 25% of constituencies. The debate was notable for focusing primarily on policies rather than personalities.
There were also debates of the same parties with female and youth candidates. In the second-round campaign (and after the election) the Mission’s long-term observers in the districts reported the use of regional and tribal rhetoric in some local media. The calls from civil society and international partners to refrain from derogatory language along tribal lines were also widely covered by the media.
The report mentions however that radio is the most popular media with 137 operational radio stations.