-SLAJ prexy reminds journalists
"Freedom comes with great power and great power comes with great responsibility. By repealing Part 5 of the POA 1965 you have given us great freedom to do our work without fear or favour. Equally so, by enacting the new IMC Bill 2020 you have reminded us of the great responsibility that goes with that freedom. How we maintain that delicate balance is what all of us journalists should work towards as we go beyond the repeal," said SLAJ President, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla.
After years of sustained campaign,the Sierra Leone Parliament on Thursday,23rd July finally repealed part five of the 1965 Public Order Act which criminalise libel.
In a release issued after the remarkable development,the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) records its appreciation and rejoices over the historic repeal by the Sierra Leone Parliament of the 55-year-old Part 5 of the infamous Public Order Act of 1965, which criminalises free speech and the work of the media, and the enactment of a New IMC Bill 2020 which seeks to regulate same.
"Thursday, 23rd July, 2020 will be remembered as Freedom Day not only for journalists but for all Sierra Leoneans. The biggest beneficiary of the repeal of this bad law is Sierra Leone. Our beloved country has now joined the enviable community of progressive nations, where free (and responsible) speech is guaranteed and protected by law," the release states.
SLAJ commended the President Julius Maada Bio for providing the political will, his Minister of Information and Communications Mohamed Rahman Swarray for driving the process, and the Sierra Leone Parliament for fulfilling their obligation and ensuring the achievement of this huge milestone in freedom of expression and democracy in Sierra Leone.
"Therefore, SLAJ assures the public that, with the support of the Government of Sierra Leone, the international community, the Sierra Leone Parliament, and media stakeholders such as the MRCG and IMC, we will embark on continuous capacity building trainings and enforcement of the ethical standards in the SLAJ Code of Ethics."
The association pays tribute to their founding members, past Presidents, the Regional and National Executives, the general membership, Civil Society Groups, international press freedom organization, the Entertainment industry, and all those who in diverse ways supported this process.