Sierra Leone President Promises FOI Law Soon

4 May 2011

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma on May 3 promised that a freedom of information bill will become law “pretty, pretty soon,” according to a Awoko media report.

His pledge came as 50 journalists organized by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) marched to the State House on International Press Freedom Day urging repeal of criminal libel laws and passage of a FOI bill. Demonstrators held signs including:  “President Koroma should fulfill his promise to repeal the Criminal Libel Law,” and “don’t criminalize us in the line of duty.”

SLAJ President Umaru Fofanah said later that he was impressed with the president’s commitment to the FOI bill and to considering the libel law, according to the article.

Sierra Express Media said the SLAJ President “presented a petition letter to the Speaker of the House, Hon Justice Nathaniel Abel Stronge and registered the concerns from the association and the public over the delay in the promulgation of the Freedom of Information Bill.” The account by Ismael Koroma, National Secretary General, SLAJ, continued:

The Speaker said the bill was being studied and would be passed in due course. But the SLAJ president urged MPs to not keep the process indeterminably long. The petition letter to the Speakers expresses appreciation over “efforts made by especially Honourable Members of the Legislative Committee… but all of those efforts will be shrouded in suspicion and speculation ending in fruitlessness if the bill continues to be shelved.”

See a  recent report on the situation in Sierra Leone.

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