Independent Media Commission (IMC) happened to be the country’s media regulatory body, IMC Chairman, Amb. Alieu Kanu congratulated journalists from both print and electronic media throughout the country. He described the reportage of the country’s journalists as an accurate strive, owing to the fact that most journalists made the effort to fact checked and cross checked their publications, for the sake of objectivity and balance styles of reporting.
“In Sierra Leone today we are witnessing and enjoying an extensive growth in the aspect of freedom of expression, freedom to publish, freedom of assembly and freedom of conscience which are attributes enshrined in section 25 of the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone.” Amb. Alieu Kanu added.
He further mentioned that when they took over office there were enormous complains brought in by members of the public against media houses in the country. Owing to the institution relentless work and constant media engagement, at the moment the IMC is receiving a shrink number of complains, adding that it was a symbol of improvement in the media landscape.
Lawyer Francis Ben- Kaifala stated that there are lots of give and take in the laws governing media practitioners in the country and pointed out that in the constitution section 25 (1) guaranty press freedom without government interference, but also there are other laws that contradict the aforementioned provision.
“Anything that is there to clog the ability of these institution (Media Institution) to operate fairly or that is there to frustrate or contradict the ability of those guaranty to be realized, has to be discouraged and removed, one of it is the public order act of 1965 Part 5 which provides for seditious libel and defamatory against journalist to publish, I think those are things we should try to look at and come up with better alternatives.” S Francis Kaifala, ascertained.
Managing Editor Independent Newspaper, Jonathan Leigh said when a newspaper come in conflict with the law as against the state the owner of the newspaper was liable to arrest and that the vendor that distribute the paper was also liable to arrest, he reiterated that it was so because the vendor was considered to be putting out materials that was seeing as seditious and libelous and that the law was introduced for one purpose, when a newspaper put out story that was against the state then.
Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Bangura sated that the effort made by his government to repel the criminal libel law, had been enormous as a result of the fact that no other government had ever gone that far in the repelling process of the abovementioned law, adding that they have completed the consultation stage with Sierra Leone Association of Journalists and other stakeholders.
Head Of Department, Mass Communication Department Fourah Bay College Hindolo Tonya Musa mentioned that press freedom happened to be the conducive environment created for press to hold political aspirant or political figure accountable and that in the modern age people are escaping accountability and it is the responsibility of the media to hold them accountable.