By Alfred Koroma
Highlighting to citizens, steps government has taken to liberalize the media, Information Minister, Mohamed Rahman Swarray warned against the misuse of digital media, stressing that Cyber Security and Crime Law is a living law.
The Minister was speaking at the 13th National Delegates Conference of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party held at Bintumani Hotel in Freetown. Digital networking should not be misused, he told the crowded hall.
According to the Minister, about 2.67 million Sierra Leoneans are now connected to internet with about a million on social media, depicting a rapid growth of digital connectivity in the country.
He said this is happening because of increase investment to digitize the country and government decision to liberalize the laws for more people to access internet.
“When President Bio travelled to China for the very first time, he spoke to President Xi for a 30 million dollar loan to digitize the country,” the Minister. “The money has helped us to take fibre to Koinadugu, Moyamba, Pujehun , Kailahun and Bonth Districts for people to get easy access to the internet.”
Digital media provides freedom for people to share information and interact virtually which has enhanced democratic participation of citizens on national issues. But the platform has now been subjected to abuse and a perfect tool spread political propaganda, fake news, hate speech and incitement.
To curtail this trend, Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Information enacted a Cyber Crime law in 2020 in other to protect critical national information infrastructure and prevent the abusive use of the computer systems in the country.
The law provides for the timely and effective collection of electronic evidence for the purpose of investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes and facilitation of international cooperation in dealing with cybercrime matters.
“This law is not like any other law that gathers dust in the shelf. This is a very living law, the Minister stated, noting they have trained Judges, prosecutors, law officers to implement the law.