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Criminal Libel Law dead and buried

July 24, 2020

As it Celebrates 49th Year Anniversary… SLAJ President Cautions ...

Bravo President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla

After decades of sustained campaign by media right campaigners, the Sierra Leone Parliament has yesterday unanimously repealed Part 5 of the 1965 Public Order Act, which criminalises libel and also passed into law the reviewed Independent Media Commission (IMC) Act, 2020.

The said law was abducted by former Prime Minister, Sir Albert Margai of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and it has been a long battle to repeal it, with subsequent governments reneging on their promises.

Subsequent presidents of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) had had their bit in the fight to repeal the said law, which many argued crippled media freedom in Sierra Leone.

Many journalists including the former Minister of Sports, Paul Kamara had been punished by public officials using Part Five of the Public Order Act which deals with defamatory and criminal libel.

The repeal of Part 5 of the 1965 Public Order Act is a fulfilment of a manifesto promise of the New Direction Administration of President Julius Maada Bio.

Speaking after the repeal, President of SLAJ,Ahmed Sahid Nasralla,described the day as a special moment ,not only for journalists and journalism, but also for the entire citizenry of Sierra Leone.

He thanked President Julius Maada Bio for fulfilling a campaign promise and promised that journalists will upholds the morals of journalism and ensures development in the country.