Your trusted place for Sierra Leone and global news
HomePress ReleasesPresident Koroma assures criminal libel law review in 3 years

President Koroma assures criminal libel law review in 3 years

President Koroma assures criminal libel law review in 3 years

Freetown – The President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma has assured journalists that his Government will review Part V of the 1965 Public Order Act, which criminalizes libel.

Speaking at a press conference at State House on Tuesday 8 December 2009, the president reiterated his election campaign promise, saying that aspects of the law were bad and needed a review. He went further this time to commit himself to a timeframe when he said, “[a review] will be done before the end of my first term as President”. That first term ends in 2012.

The president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Umaru Fofana, has welcomed the latest pronouncement calling it “encouraging”. While urging President Koroma to speed up the process, he said he looked forward to holding further discussions with the head of state and parliamentarians to address the public’s concerns and chart a way forward to make real the de-criminalization of libel. “This law was as bad yesterday as it is bad today; and must therefore have no place in a civilized society”, Fofana said.

Criminal and Seditious Libel Law under which a journalist, a broadcaster, a newspaper vendor, a printer or even a poet and an author of a book can be imprisoned instead of fined, has been denounced by press freedom campaigners as a backward law which seeks to muzzle freedom of speech and expression. It has been repealed in many countries including Ghana, which has gained worldwide acclaim lately for its good governance and law reforms.

In February 2008, SLAJ went to the Supreme Court to seek a repeal of the law. The court ruled unfavorably on the basis that journalists were under no imminent danger, something dismissed by SLAJ. The association, which has been widely praised for its renewed drive in seeking a repeal of the law in the last one year, has resolved to lobby the presidency and Parliament to achieve its aim.

Ismael Koroma, National Assistant Secretary General, SLAJ, Freetown

Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!

© 2009, https:. All rights reserved.

Share With:
Rate This Article
  • Dear editor,
    I am duly optimistic to make a comments abot 44 nigerian dopctors and nurses.I am reminding you that not all of them are genuine as stated. Some of them could be false in dealing with any thing.

    If they come with good intension well,that the way to pay back some oblgations they owed us since the era of frabay college where, founders of nigerians and the like wrere educated.

    I am urging government to adress the nation and brief everyone including forigners about crook deals which may degrade inverstosr confidence.

    Immigeration depertment should be functional by having its own body.Take example,Gambia strategy on immigeration is perfect. where as in sierra leone you can only see them in passport office and border posts.They should be train and sent to all district to make sure that they screen forigners proffessionally.sometime mount check points in various parts in the city unexpetedly.

    Let don’t forget that.by recruiting mostly youths could be helpful only if the government will pay them.This is simple.introduce a non citizen residence to be paying for a black and white laminated ID card every year.its a sysytem which will help to know the amount of forigners in the country and part of that money will go for developements.Lets immigeration be responsible for security sutiation,unless its get out of hand.

    I also want to thank all those artist promoting sierra leone music and the pioneers.God blee you all.

    Aba suma

    11th December 2009

Leave A Comment