Socialist Leader becomes West Africa Media Chief

Sierra Leone journalist, Mr. Chernoh Alpha M. Bah has assumed the presidency of the West Africa Media Forum (WAMF), a regional journalist advocacy network established to promote regional economic integration, human rights and democratic practice in the region.
“Today we are opening a new era in our struggle for media freedom and democratic rights in West Africa, a new era that will be accentuated with our unresolved determination to expose all the agents of injustice and underdevelopment in our various communities,” Mr. Bah said during his inauguration last Friday.
Giving a grim picture of the African political situation, Bah says a revolutionary media is urgently needed if the level of oppression against journalists and the masses is to be challenged and overturned.
“The stories of violence against journalists and the obstacles to a media free society are the same everywhere. From Gambia to Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakry and Nigeria, the struggle for free speech and access to information have been affected by decades of the same injustices and similar anti-democratic and draconian legislations and institutions that continue to grow at the expense of the development of our various communities,” Bah observed, while emphasizing that key to WAMF’s agenda is the reclamation of its independence and rebuilding of the capacity required to fulfil its mission.
He also called on African journalists to take a front role in what he calls the urgent task of restoring Africa on its rightful place in world history.
“It will be illusionary for us to imagine freedom for journalists without the liberation and unification of Africa from the forces of oppression and neo-colonial dictatorship,” he noted.  
 The West Africa Media Forum (WAMF) is a network of leading West African journalists and media professionals formed to provide assessment and checks on policies and programs of ECOWAS member states with regards the maintenance of optimum standards on good governance, human rights and sound economic policies that enhance economic growth and human development in West Africa. 
It aims to complement the efforts of the sub-regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to promote regional economic integration, trade and development in the region through policy dialogue and advocacy.
Bah, the first journalist from Sierra Leone to assume leadership of the regional media pressure group, succeeds outgoing president Mr. Olulekan Osainde of Nigeria who has held office since 2005.   
An award-wining journalist and former editor of the Concord Times newspaper and Critique News International Magazine in Freetown, Mr. Bah is renowned for fusing conventional media techniques with mass political activism in his effort to articulate and highlight the despicable conditions and concerns of West Africa’s largely abandoned and unemployed youthful population.
 Questions of human rights, good governance, political corruption, social justice, African unity and national liberation occupy prominence in his writings. Over the years, he introduced a radical leftist tendency into mainstream media that simultaneously made him both a deviant and a recognizable defender of dissenting views. 
His tendency of “radical journalism” achieved notable heights with his role in defending the position of African refugees in Guinea during the late 1990s, a situation which placed him in direct confrontation with the regime of late Lansana Conte.
 Mr. Bah recently moved from active normal journalistic practice into mainstream politics by seeking to contend with existing political groups in Sierra Leone for control of power.
He is currently Interim Leader of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), a newly formed workers’ party established to struggle for a socialist state in Sierra Leone, and has over the years travelled around the world advocating for African unity and socialism.
He functions as Director of Organization for the African Socialist International (ASI), an international movement of African workers and revolutionaries struggling for an all-African socialist government in Africa and continental unification.
While critics hold the view that Mr. Bah’s new position in WAMF will result into the popularisation of his radical leftist tradition and beliefs in the organization, it is also highly believed that the Media Forum has opened a new chapter in its history of operation.
“The challenges facing our region are enormous and daunting and the bureaucratic protocols inherent in the institutions have placed administrative barriers that do nothing but compound an already horrible situation of underdevelopment. Under the current circumstances and situation, it takes extreme courage and determination to triumph,” outgoing WAMF president, Olulekan Osainde reported.
Mr. Osainde notes that: “WAMF couldn’t have made a better choice if it had not resolved around the leadership of Mr. Chernoh Alpha M. Bah.” 
He says the organization has reached a decisive point in its history and the only way it can move forward is by breaking from the tradition of the past in an effort to chart a new path that is reflective of the demands of the new period.
“I have no illusions that Mr. Bah offers the exact qualities and disposition for the requirements of this new period,” he said.
Chernoh Alpha M. Bah arrived in Nigeria on Sunday February 14 and will be visiting both Cameroon and Ghana to meet with journalists and opposition groups in those countries. He is also expected to asses the status of media freedom and free speech and also speak on the new WAMF agenda under his leadership.
It is not clear whether Mr. Bah will also use the opportunity to highlight his political work in Sierra Leone. However,  a statement issued a week ago reported that he intends to speak on the status of the struggle for socialism in Sierra Leone and equally promote the need for African revolutionaries and socialists to build the African Socialist International (ASI) that he is a part of. Copyright © 2010 This Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (


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