September 14, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications has averred that violence perpetrated by youths would pose a threat to the successful conduct of the 2018 presidential, parliamentary and local council elections.
Cornelius Deveaux was speaking at The Place Hotel last Friday (9 September) during the maiden Annual General Meeting of the Guild of Newspaper Editors- Sierra Leone.
He however assured that government would leave no stone unturned in bringing to justice individuals or groups suspected of influencing, financing and condoning violence in any shape or form.
He reiterated government’s commitment and determination to ensuring free, fair, democratic and non-violent elections, slated for February 2018.
He emphasised the media’s role in ensuring peaceful and non-violent elections, adding that editors are principal gatekeepers in the newspaper industry, which makes their role critical in ensuring that journalists conform to the ethics of the practice as contained in the Independent Media Commission (IMC) Code of Ethics.
With regards the repeal of Part V of the Public Order Act 1965, which relates to Criminal Libel, Deveaux revealed that government was currently looking at the possibility of overhauling the seditious libel law, adding that they were in engagement with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and other media stakeholders to commence a symposium on replacing what he referred to as obnoxious law.
“While government would want to create the enabling atmosphere for journalists to practise their profession, we are mindful that we have some of our colleagues who deliberately flout the code of ethics,” he said.
According to him, the purpose of establishing the Guild of Newspaper Editors was to serve as a peer review mechanism for journalists.
While urging the Guild to continue in that direction and remain steadfast in their mission, the Deputy Information Minister called for mechanisms to be put in place to self-regulate journalists who find pleasure in flouting the ethics of the profession.