Sierra Leone News: Mass Communications Dept. Produces Five PhDs

Stephen V Lansana
4 min readFeb 25, 2020

By Stephen V. Lansana

The Mass Communications Department, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone (USL), has produced five graduates with a PhD in the 2020 congregation ceremony, the first in the history of the Department.

The graduation ceremony which was held at the Siaka Stevens Stadium was attended by President Bio, stakeholders of USL, Ministers and senior government officials.

Bachelor degrees were conferred on 2, 300 graduands, eight PhDs graduands, 242 diplomas, and a total of 117 pre and post graduate certificates. The theme of the ceremony was “Education towards Entrepreneurship”.

The five PhD graduates from the Mass Communications Department include: Dr. Isaac Leonard Ellie Massaquoi; Dr. Williette Princess Ransolina Oluwakemi James; Dr. Jusufu Hindolo Tonya Musa; Dr. Francis Sowa and Dr. Abdul Rahman Swaray; the other PhD graduates include Samuel Bangura, Emmanuel Andrew R. Gaima and Daniel Macaulay.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the USL, Brigadier General Professor Foday Sahr, said that the event was to conferr academic awards to deserving graduands who had worked hard over the years to achieve their dreams. He added that Saturday’s graduation ceremony is historic because the University conferred a total of eight PhDs.

Dr. Williette Princess Ransolina Oluwakemi James studied the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Mass Communication and Media Studies. She wrote her thesis on the topic: “Representation of women in the media in Sierra Leone 2000–2018.” Her thesis assessed the contribution of WIMSAL and the space they occupied in the leadership position in the media. The research finds out that Women journalists occupied only 20 percent out of 43 journalists. And out of 320 people who occupy leadership role in the media in Sierra Leone, women formed only 24.6 percent.

Dr. Isaac Leonard Ellie Massaquoi was certified as Doctor of Philosophy in Mass Communication and Media Studies. His thesis topic “Media, State Governance and Transitional Democracy in Sierra Leone: The Concept of the Fourth Estate.” His study examines the functionalism of the media in emerging democracy in Sierra Leone and its overall impact on the quality of socio-political governance in the country since late 1990s.

Dr. Jusufu Hindolo Tonya Musa was certified as Doctor of Philosophy in Communication and Media Studies. His thesis topic was, “The Role of Social Media in Enhancing Political Participation in Election in Sierra Leone.” His research method includes focus group discussion, questionnaire and interview. His research concluded that social media plays major role particularly in the 2018 election.

Dr. Abdul Rahman SWARAY was certified as Doctor of Philosophy in Communication and Media Studies. His thesis topic is “Indigenous Communication with Transitional Democratic Stage in Sierra Leone,” which examined particularly the Fourah Bay community in Freetown. And Dr. Francis SOWA was certified as Doctor of Philosophy in Communication and Media Studies.

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) congratulated its five members who were awarded with Degrees of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Communication and Media Studies, thereby becoming the first crop of home grown PhD holders in Mass Communications.

SLAJ also congratulated other members who graduated on Saturday with various degrees including two women colleagues awarded with Masters and another as the Best Female Graduate for IPAM 20I8/2019.

According to SLAJ, this would raise its profile and inspire upcoming journalists. According to SLAJ, women are represented in the number also points to the fact that they now take the challenge to move up the ladder.

SLAJ recognizes the significant role the five PhD graduands have been played as lecturers in the Mass Communications Department, University of Sierra Leone, and wishes that they continue to train the next generation of media professionals and support SLAJ and the development of the media in Sierra Leone.

The Mass Communication Departments was created as a unit under the English Language Department, Faculty of Arts in 1993. It was introduced in the college by Mrs. Bernadette Cole, an acclaimed media specialist who was at the time the Public Relations Officer of the University. One of its major objectives was to train students in the field of communication so as to improve the media landscape in the Country.

Under Mrs. Cole’s headship of the Department, and with the support of lecturers from Mass Communication Departments in universities in Nigeria, the Department soon developed into what was undoubtedly a centre of academic excellence. As a result of its outstanding performance, the Department has today produced five PhD graduates.

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Stephen V Lansana

Stephen V. Lansana is a Sierra Leonean Journalist who work for Premier News, a subsidiary of Premier Media Group Ltd. Stephen writes on Health & Human Rights