Sierra Leone Association of Journalists
1st Floor, 56 Campbell Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone P.M.B. 724,
Website: www.slaj.sl; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
President: +232 76/77/33 609285, Secretary-General +232 76/77/33 652556
Date: 15 July, 2010
SLAJ lauds Bar Association’s calls for repeal of criminal libel
Freetown – In what has been described by the SLAJ President, Umaru Fofana as “the right call at the right time for the right thing to be done”, the Sierra Leone Bar Association has called on the Government of Sierra Leone to abolish Criminal Libel Law from the country’s law books.
The call is contained in a list of resolutions adopted at the 2-day annual congress of the Bar Association, which says the law contained in the 1965 Public Order Act is “outmoded…and copied from the United Kingdom, which…finally abolished the repugnant provisions” in 2009.
The Bar Association says a free press “is the cornerstone for the success of democracy in Sierra Leone and an essential ingredient to a free society”. It adds that any pressure on the media would erode the rights of journalists and contravene the country’s constitution.
“We are heartened by this call by the Bar association which follows a similar one made by the country’s Human Rights Commission and the Independent Media Commission,” says the SLAJ President.
He says as more and more organisations keep calling for a repeal of this obnoxious law, SLAJ hopes it will be expunged from our laws in a matter of months and not years.
The Bar Association also expresses support for the promulgation of a Freedom of Information (FOI) Law, referring to it as a means to hold Government to account. SLAJ and civil society organisations have, for years, been calling for an FOI law which was recently adopted by cabinet.
National Assistant Secretary General
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