Originally formed around the 2002 national elections, the Independent Radio Network (IRN) is a membership network of 40 community and private radio stations operating across Sierra Leone’s 16 electoral districts that collaborate to nationally broadcast trustworthy, impartial news and issue-based radio programs. IRN is the only consortium of independent radio stations in the country with such massive coverage and membership. The network provides coverage of important and topical issues and activities implemented by government, International Partners and Non-State Actors. Over the years, IRN has proven to be a reliable and trust worthy channel of communication particularly through its independent coverage of State elections since 2002 providing real-time information on polling activities and exit polls across the country. As a result of IRN’s performance, the citizenry depends on the network for credible information and public education.
The Independent Radio Network (IRN) has built a significant reputation and platform for independent and trustworthy information with significant structures across the country and its community radio station’s memberships and listenership. In 2014, IRN supported NERC in its Social Mobilization drive to end Ebola and its daily radio broadcasts was widely credited for the success gained in stemming the infection. The Ministry of Education also broadcast a National Radio Teaching Campaign via the network for school pupils countrywide. This further underscored IRN’s capacity to carry out effective mass media campaigns, especially through community radio stations. The coverage of the 2018 National elections was also a success as radio and social media were integrated to provide relevant information to audiences in and out of Sierra Leone. As a credible media institution, the IRN is committed to continue providing independent coverage on good governance, the rule of law, election reporting among others.
In Sierra Leone’s communities, radio is the main source of information for the populace. As such, IRN’s strategic goal is to enhance media pluralism and support capacity development of media stakeholders in Sierra Leone. The network also works to build the capacity of its individual member radio stations, so as to create a cooperative, sustainable media landscape.