Mr. Rado Swaray said journalists everywhere in the world abhor criminal libel laws, adding that the latter should be given free atmosphere to carry out their work.
He added that the importance of an enabling legal environment for press freedom – giving special attention to the role of an independent Judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and the prosecution of crimes against journalists – should not be overemphasized.
He told committee members: “We believe as government that journalists should not be criminalized but to create an atmosphere that will help them carry out their work effectively. Removing the criminal libel law will help them do their work accurately. We are aware of the rules that guide them, including the Independent Media Commission Act and Code of Conduct. We have to empower and strengthen the IMC in order to regulate them thoroughly without interference,” he said.
On the issue of ‘reckless journalism,’ he noted that the IMC together with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Women in the Media (WIMSAL) and other stakeholders would help to regulate their work.
Earlier, it could be recalled that President of Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Kelvin Lewis, during World Press Freedom Day on May 3 called on President Julius Maada Bio and his Sierra Leone Peoples Party-led government to repeal the obnoxious part five of the 1965 Public Order Act of 1965 that has been used to jail journalists.