The Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) has trained 61 journalists in the Northern, Southern and Eastern regions from 23rd to 26th October, 2018. The training was organised so that the journalists would be capacitated on how to report on the operations of the Audit Service Sierra Leone.
According to the Information, Education and Communications Officer of ASSL, Mr. Martin Sandy, the ASSL liaised with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) regional heads to organise the media training in Makeni, Bo and Kenema. He noted that during the training, the journalists were adequately informed about the background and mandate of the Audit Service Sierra Leone, the audit process, types of audit opinions, the relationship between the ASSL and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament and the role of the media in reporting on audit issues.
According to Mr. Karifala Samura the Desk Officer of the Independent Media Commission in the North, he pointed out that their perception about the operation of the ASSL has changed because the staff of the ASSL gave them in-depth knowledge and analysis of how the institution operates.
He noted that prior to the training; they had no knowledge about the audit process and what it takes to come out with the Auditor-General’s annual report every year. He appealed to the ASSL management to conduct more training for journalists so that accurate information will be disseminated to the public.
The SLAJ Southern Regional Head Mr. Richard Ngevao, commended the ASSL for capacitating journalists on the operations of the Service. He stated that as journalists, the only way they can give accurate information to the public is through adequate knowledge on the issues. He confessed that, they have always misunderstood the different opinions that the Auditor-General always gives on the reports. “This training has helped us to adequately interpret what is meant by ‘unqualified’ opinion and ‘qualified’ opinion” said Mr. Ngevao. Mr. Ngevao appealed to the ASSL management to be giving regular update to the media on the activities of the Service through email and press briefings. He also assured the ASSL that journalists will not deviate from what they have learnt but will give adequate and accurate information to the public.