The Publisher of Sierra Leone’s largest, highest selling and most widely read newspaper, the Awareness Times, will be leaving the shores of Sierra Leone this weekend for a period of time during which she will honour an Invitation sent to her by the largest newspaper in China, the Peoples Daily. According to correspondence from the President of Peoples Daily, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden is amongst only 21 top-rated African journalists selected after careful scrutiny of all the major news outlets in Africa. It can be recalled that earlier this year, Blyden was invited to Turkey as a Guest of the Office of the Prime Minister of Turkey at a Turkey-Africa Media Forum.
During the almost three weeks she will be in China, Sylvia Blyden has been slated to meet with top officials of both the Chinese Government and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). She will also attend the 2nd China-Africa People’s Forum and the Sino-African Cooperation Forum.
It can be recalled that Blyden’s maternal grandfather, Professor Solomon Pratt, as Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister in October 1971, played a very significant role in ensuring China regained its seat at the United Nations. As a result of the astute skills of Pratt back then, ties between China and Sierra Leone have solidified over the past 40 years.
Blyden’s entire round-trip tickets, accommodation, meals and transportation in China will be covered by People’s Daily.
|Sylvia Blyden & President of Sierra Leone earlier this year
This will be Blyden’s second trip to China. The first being some 17 years ago at the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing whilst she was the country’s first woman to be elected as a Students Union President. Representing Sierra Leone’s female youths back then, she was chosen on her arrival in China, by her African peers to speak on behalf of all female youths of Africa.
Following this trip to China, Dr. Blyden plans to visit a few other places around the world. She is expected back in Freetown at an as-yet-unspecified date, but definitely by September this year in time to provide leadership in media coverage of the elections including the pre-elections and post-elections period.
In her absence, the paper will be run by its independent Editorial Board. Aruna Turay will continue to act as the paper’s Editor under the guidance of the paper’s high standard editorial policies that has seen it emerge as one of the country’s leading opinion makers and amongst the foremost trusted and fiercely independent voices in Sierra Leone’s local media landscape.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.