Sierra Leone

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  • 11 November 2015

    OGP ATI Working Group Plans Focus on 4 Countries

    The Open Government Partnership Access to Information Working Group will focus its attention on helping four countries, according to the group’s “co-anchors.” While the working group will continue with a number of activities, including more general support to interested counties, particular attention will be paid to two pairs of countries: Liberia and Sierra Leone; Honduras […]

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  • 11 September 2014

    Appointments Said to Violate New Law in Sierra Leone

    The appointment of a government appointee as the first chief information commissioner and the selection of an executive secretary for the commission by the president of Sierra Leone violate the new law, according to Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, Executive Director of the Society for Democratic Initiatives. In a letter to President Ernest Bai Koroma, Abdulai said […]

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News Archive

  • 17 February 2014

    FOI Notes, Sierra Leone, US, India, EU, OGP

    Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone’s new RTI law is tied as 5th strongest in the world, according to an analysis by the Centre for Law and Democracy. The law scored 124 out of a possible maximum of 150 points on the RTI Rating, an analytical tool developed by CLD and its partner organisation, Access Info India: […]

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  • 11 November 2013

    Sierra Leone: FOI is One Thing, Freedom of Press Another

    By Amanda Vragovich Vragovich is the Assistant Program Officer for West Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy.  This article appeared Nov. 7 in ThinkAfricaPress. On 31 October, after ten years of civil society activism, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone signed into law the Right to Access Information Bill. The long-awaited freedom of […]

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  • 30 October 2013

    Sierra Leone Passes Freedom of Information Bill; Now 96

    The Sierra Leone Parliament Oct. 29 passed a Right to Access Information Act. See text here. “What is left is the presidential assent and we hope President Koroma will do that speedily,” commented FOI activist Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai. “This is a great victory to all of us and we must certainly enjoy it,” he said. […]

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  • 24 October 2013

    Sierra Leone Aims to Join OGP After Passing FOI Bill

    Sierra Leone is hoping to join the Open Government Partnership soon and is pushing through a freedom of information bill in order to qualify for membership, according to informed sources. A bill will pass on Oct. 29, a top overnment official told That timing would coincide with the OGP annual meeting in London Oct. 31-Nov. […]

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  • 17 October 2013

    Sierra Leone Moving to Pass FOI Law; With U.S. Nudge?

    Sierra Leone’s parliament may soon pass a long-pending freedom of information law. The unexpected rush to approve the law was sparked by the president’s interest in qualifying for the U.S. aid program, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, according to an informed source. Sierra Leone in December was made eligible for MCC membership. The process to actual inclusion, which […]

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  • 10 July 2013

    Sierra Leone Government Delays FOI Legislation

    The Sierra Leone government is delaying action on freedom of information legislation because of “poor records management.” The open-ended postponement comes after months of more positive signals from other officials and prompted a strong retort from a leading FOI campaigner. “It is unfortunate that the Government of Sierra Leone continues to play games with this […]

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  • 23 May 2013

    Campaign for FOI Relaunched at Sierra Leone Conference

    Sierra Leone Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Theo Nicol said May 13 that the political will exists to ensure a freedom of information bill is passed this time around and that the president will sign it. His remarks came at  conference at which supporters of legislation relaunched a campaign for a FOI law. Efforts […]

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  • 29 March 2013

    Four African Leaders Say They Hope to Join OGP

    President Obama March 28 met with the heads of state of four African countries – Cape Verde, Malawi, Senegal and Sierra Leone – indicating afterwards that all four hope to join the Open Government Partnership. “So what our discussion has focused on is, number one, how do we continue to build on strong democracies; how […]

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  • 27 August 2012

    No Action on Sierra Leone FOI Bill as Elections Approach

    The Sierra Leone freedom of information bill remains in limbo despite promises of action in May, prompting an international organization of journalists to urge its approval by parliament. The situation is described in a recent blog post in Young African Voices which highlights the recent observation by Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji I.B. […]

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  • 8 June 2012

    FOI Bill in Sierra Leone Assigned to Committee

    The Sierra Leone Minister of Information and Communication June 7 submitted freedom of information  legislation to Parliament where it was again sent to the Legislative Committee for scrutiny. FOI legislation has languished in the Legislative Committee in the past, and the initial debate on the bill indicated that some parliamentarians are strongly opposed to it, […]

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  • 18 May 2012

    Sierra Leone Parliament Holds Meeting on FOI Bill

    The Sierra Leone Parliament May 17 held a pre-legislative conference on the freedom of information bill at which parliamentarians complained bitterly about the tactics of pro-FOI supporters. Advocates are still hopeful that the bill will be passed, however, although the parliamentary action is occurring at a slower pace than suggested weeks ago by government officials. […]

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  • 4 May 2012

    Angry Parliamentarian Vows to Block Sierra Leone FOI Bill

    Only days after a top Sierra Leone government official said the freedom of information bill would pass during the week of May 7, a key legislator, angered by journalists, said it won’t. The strong statement by Majority Leader of Parliament, S.B.B. Dumbuya was dramatic, according to a report in Ariogbo by Femi Coker, who described […]

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  • 3 May 2012

    Sierra Leone Parliament to Consider FOI Next Week

    The Sierra Leone Parliament will consider long-delayed freedom of information legislation during the week of May 7, a top government official has said. The statement of  the Minister of Information and Communication, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, was reported in The Patriotic Vanguard by Ishmael Koroma.  [Ed. note: learned later that the article was essentially a press […]

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  • 6 April 2012

    Sierra Leone FOI Advocates Urge Parliament to Act

    Advocates of a freedom of information bill in Sierra Leone are pressing the government to take action on the long-stalled FOI bill, and looking for a procedural move that could ease passage. Activists continue to hope that the government will act to arrange the process so that the bill will not go back to square one in Parliament. The […]

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  • 19 March 2012

    Despite Uncertainty, Sierra Leone FOI Activists Organize

    With conflicting signals coming from top government officials, advocates for a freedom of information in Sierra Leone are coalescing to lobby for FOI legislation. The activity comes as a top minister pledged action on a bill, according to a media report by Michael T. Kamara and Mariama Bundu in Awareness Times. But the Speaker of the […]

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  • 24 February 2012

    FOI Supporters Meet With Top Sierra Leone Official

    Advocates of the much-delayed freedom of information bill in Sierra Leone recently met with a key advisor to the president, who promised to give the bill closer study, according to a report in Sierra Express. Five FOI Coalition members met with the Chief of Staff in the office of the President on Feb. 2 to discuss the […]

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  • 3 February 2012

    Sierra Leone President Again Supports FOI Bill

    Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma Jan. 28 reiterated his support for freedom of information legislation on the occasion of the review of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Forum, Country Review Report of Sierra Leone at the 16th Summit of the Committee of participating Heads of State and Government of the APRM in Addis […]

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  • 27 January 2012

    Sierra Leone Portal No Substitute for FOI Law, Advocates Say

    Promises by Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma to pass a freedom of information law have resulted in no action, so when he announced a Transparency Sierra Leone portal Jan. 24 and said it would lead to an “unprecedented level of openness,” FOI supporters  reacted with annoyance. Executive Director of the Society for Democratic Initiative, […]

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  • 5 September 2011

    Sierra Leone President Promises September Passage

    Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has told a leading freedom of information campaigner that a FOI bill will be passed in September. The president made his comment Sept. 3 to Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai during a conversation at the launch for Koroma’s biography. Koroma said that he “has given the go ahead for the Freedom […]

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  • 22 July 2011

    Challenges, Prospects for a FOI Law in Sierra Leone

    By John Baimba Sesay – Freetown Reprinted with permission of Sierra Express, where this article was published July 19, 2011. When Nigeria started its campaign for an access to information law, it was not an easy task especially during the days of former President Olusegn Obasanjo, a former military General. He had his own misgivings […]

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  • 7 July 2011

    Sierra Leone Official Lists FOIA Bill Impediments

    In a detailed and frank speech, a key Sierra Leone official has described the impediments facing freedom of information legislation that has been ready for a vote in Parliament since March.   The July 7 talk by Edward Kwame Yankson, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications, included a jibe at civil society groups […]

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  • 30 June 2011

    Sierra Leone Minister Says Parliament Needs Persuading

    A Sierra Leone minister has said efforts are under way to convince Parliament to pass a freedom of information law. Deputy Information Minister Sheka Tarawalli said in a recent interview with Cocorioko News, “We have been lobbying MPs and embarking on sensitization campaigns as to the necessity of the Act, and it is our hope […]

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  • 4 May 2011

    Sierra Leone President Promises FOI Law Soon

    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 […]

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  • 15 April 2011

    Passage of FOI Bill in Sierra Leone May Be Problematical

    By Sulakshana Gupta The author works for the BBC World Service Trust in Sierra Leone and is also a freelance journalist Since October 2010, the Freedom of Information Bill in Sierra Leone has been pending in Parliament and now there’s a good chance it might not pass until much later. Sources at the Ministry of […]

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  • 1 April 2011

    Sierra Leone Coalition Urges Action on FOIA Bill

    The Sierra Leone Freedom of Information Coalition March 28 wrote to President Ernst Bai Koroma expressing  “disappointment concerning the delays associated with the enactment of the Right to Access Information Bill.”  Promised action on the bill has been postponed by a series of delays in Parliament. The letter chronicled: It was anticipated that the Bill […]

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  • 7 March 2011

    Sierra Leone Minister Says FOI Bill to Pass This Week

    The Sierra Leone Minister of information and Communication, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, said March 4 that the freedom of information bill will become law this week, according to a media report. The vote did not occur, however. A quorum could not be mustered because opposition parliamentarians out of town to campaign for re-election, a key activist […]

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  • 18 November 2010

    Secret Societies Exempt From Sierra Leone FOI Proposal

    “Secret societies” are exempted from the coverage of the proposed freedom of information law in Sierra Leone, according to Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, Executive Director of the Society for Democratic Initiatives in Sierra Leone. “Secret societies are ancient cultural institutions in the Upper Guinea Coast of West Africa and their primary purpose is to regulate sexual […]

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  • 11 November 2010

    Sierra Leone Moves Toward Adopting FOIA Legislation

    Sierra Leone took a major toward adopting a freedom of information law Nov. 11 when Parliament gave the government-proposed bill a first reading and referred it to a committee. “After seven years of laborious work in lobbying, education of Parliamentarians and sensitization of the general public by SDI and its coalition partners, this is a […]

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  • 15 October 2010

    Sierra Leone Minister Positive on Prospects for FOI Law

    Sierra Leone’s information minister has given assurances that a freedom of information law will be enacted soon, according to remarks made to journalist Pa John Baimba Sesay published Oct. 13 in Sierra Express Media. In his story is an account of his recent discussion with Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, information minister for this new government […]

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  • 8 October 2010

    Sierra Leone President Mentions FOI Legislation

    Ernest Bai Koroma, president of the Republic of Sierra Leone, in his opening address to Parliament Oct. 8, said that when parliament approves freedom of information legislation “citizens’ access to information from public officials will be revolutionized.” The mention of FOI legislation was part of his lengthy agenda described to parliament. Koroma said his Cabinet […]

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  • 25 June 2010

    Sierra Leone Cabinet Advances FOI Bill

    The Sierra Leone Cabinet June 16 approved a draft Freedom of Information bill. The measure will go to the Parliament within the next four or five weeks.

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  • 1 September 2002

    Analysis of Transparency Issues at the World Bank

    Despite changes made in the World Bank’s disclosure policies, more transparency is still possible. Below is a summary of current transparency issues. To read more about the Bank’s changes made in August 2002, see the policy itself made in 2002. Or read the summary from the Bank Information Center. Areas where improvements could be made […]

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Constitution (1991)


The Right to Information Law (2013)



National Security and RTI in Sierra Leone (A 2013 report prepared for the Open Society Justice Initiative)



Measuring Openness

Global Right to Information Rating
A country-by-country rating of laws by the Centre for Democracy and Law and Access Info.

Freedom House
The Freedom in the World report.

World Bank
Worldwide Governance Indicators

Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index
Measures perceptions of the degree of corruption.

Reporters Without Borders
The Press Freedom Index.