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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, ‘FOI Law will soon be passed’- Says SDI Director
By Augustine Samba
Oct 1, 2010, 17:16
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The Director for Society for Democratic Initiative (SDI) Mr. Emmanuel Saffa Abdulia on Thursday 30th September 2010 said the battle for the enactment of the Freedom of Information law (FOI) was almost over.


He made this statement in an exclusive interview with this reporter at his Pademba Road office in Freetown.  He said as director, he has worked very vigorously to campaign for the FOI law to come into existence in Sierra Leone. “Since 2003 to now I have engaged many stakeholders and ordinary citizens to support the FOI to be part of our law. He maintained that the fight for FOI is for very citizen for as he put it ‘it will benefit everybody including journalists, researchers and other people who want to seek or access information.


He underscored the vitality of FOI to the democratic development of Sierra Leone, while maintaining that even the national constitution makes provision for FOI in Section 25 of Sub-Section (1) for the right of the citizens to know. “The Sierra Leone Constitution met the obligation in the international human right instrument which qualities us as a country, and it is therefore, essential for the country to have FOI law enacted,” he further noted.


He however cautioned that in addition to its vital nature, FOI has certain limitations for citizens such as making public anything with the potential to undermine state security. “FOI also prohibits the publication of international relations between governments that deals with information relating to police investigations of crimes, trade, secret third party information and personnel information,” he informed.


He concluded on the note that when the bill shall have been passed into law, he would conduct a post awareness raising campaign for a better understanding and for every body to know his right to seek access, give and retrieve information.  He disclosed that the FOI bill has
been drafted and put on gazette to be soon brought before parliament for scrutiny and subsequent approval.  


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