“The seditious libel law profoundly limits press freedom and registers fear in the minds of journalist; people cannot claim that we have press freedom when we are afraid to say certain things openly. Secondly, the said law has economic effect on the media, owing to the fact that those that have the economic power to invest in the media, will refrain to do so because of the looming criminal libel law” Kelvin Lewis noted.
Kelvin Lewis maintained that “no business man wants to go to jail for the action of his/her employee, as a result of that people doesn’t invest in the media; a situation that seriously affect the level of professionalism in journalism, just because of the said law”
He reiterated that there have been limited amounts of press freedom, which according to his assessment disclosed that less than 50% of the country’s journalists enjoying the limited press freedom.
Honorable Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo a veteran journalist and a current politician stated that Sierra Leone is currently enjoying considerable amount of press freedom, as he pointed at the publications of the local tabloid in the country as an attestation of freedom of expression and of the press, an inalienable human rights that practicing journalists are enjoying in the country.
Hon. IB Kargbo ascertained that there are limited possibilities to write those things which was recorded in history, as he further stated that the era which the public order act was introduced into the laws of the land, the political system at that time was reluctant to accept criticism, as he pointed out that the present government is acting on the contrary, owing to the fact that they welcome criticism and constructive dialogue.
“at the moment, we have radio stations all over the country, at the moment we have television stations all over the country and at the moment people are able to come out and make their views through civil society and that when you talk of freedom of the press and freedom of expression I can say we have done reasonable well.” Ibrahim Ben Kargbo mentioned.
He furthered that there are benchmarks and possibilities that they could improve on what was available and that for them to improve on the current accessible press freedom and free speech; they need the cooperation of everyone including journalists. He reiterated that it would be of essence to train journalists in order to meet international best practices, and that Sierra Leone should not be isolated from the world professional standard of journalism. He noted that it must be of essence for everyone to know that there are international set standards of professional journalism.