News / Africa

    Sierra Lone President to Sign Freedom of Information Bill into Law

    Sierra Leone's incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.Sierra Leone's incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.
    x
    Sierra Leone's incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.
    Sierra Leone's incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.
    James Butty
    Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma is expected to sign into law a new Freedom of Information bill Thursday after it was approved by the country’s parliament.

    Information and Communication Minister Alpha Kanu says the bill is in line with the government’s reforms to promote and reinforce democracy and good governance in the country.

    The bill’s approval comes as Sierra Leone journalists on Tuesday imposed a news blackout in solidarity with two journalists jailed and charged with 26 counts of seditious and defamatory libel for criticizing President Koroma.

    Kanu says the Freedom and Information Bill will make access to information in Sierra Leone easier.

    “It is a bill which normally would be referred to as the Freedom of Information Bill, but it has been renamed as the Right to Access Information which gives anybody above the age of 15 years old, a citizen of Sierra Leone to demand or request any information from any public body or private body that does receive any funding from the consolidated fund for any information that is not confidential in nature,” he said.

    Kanu said Sierra Leoneans are enjoying freedom of information, freedom of expression and freedom of association under the Koroma government in compliance with the tenets of our democracy.

    Sierra Leone journalists on October 29th imposed a news blackout in solidarity with two journalists jailed and charged with 26 counts of seditious and defamatory libel for criticizing President Koroma.

    Police arrested Jonathan Leigh, publisher of the Independent Observer and Bai Bai Sesay, editor of the same paper on Friday, October 25 and charged them under the 1965 Public Order Act.

    It stipulates that any person who prints, publishes, sells, or distributes any publication deemed seditious can be fined and handed prison terms of up seven years.

    In an October 17 opinion article entitled “Who is Molesting Who: The President or the VP?” the paper reportedly likened President Koroma to a rat and dictator.

    Information and Communication Minister Kanu said the two journalists were arrested for printing and disseminating false information.

    “Information is important, but you must give credible information. Nobody would have refused them information if they had asked for it. But what they did they fabricated information that were total lies contrary to all existing tenets of truth, and I know that’s why they are where they are at the moment. And in any country the laws must be obeyed. Seditious libel or criminal libel and malicious defamation of character are not some of the best practices for ethical journalism,” Kanu said.

    In addition to Sierra Leone courts which Kanu described as working satisfactorily, the bill also sets up an “information commission” which has the powers to summon individuals who would refuse to make available public information that has been requested.
    Butty interview with Kanu
    Butty interview with Kanui
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora