The activity, led by one of the constituents’ organisations of the MRCG, is organised using renewed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funding to capitalize on the commitments that the new government has made by advocating for the repeal of criminal libel legislation. The objectives are to continue to advocate for the repeal of criminal and seditious libel laws and promote self-regulatory mechanisms and monitor media performance and strengthen journalists’ capacity to inform with professionalism.
The MRCG brought together various participants, including journalists, civil society activists, local authorities, and citizens.
“The MRCG is moving ahead with consultations on media performance in the Post Part Five of the Public Order Act Era because it is optimistic that the government will soon repeal the Criminal Libel Law. MRCG and its partners will continue to use such meetings to engage media practitioners on their rights as well as responsibilities, capacity building and sustainability of media institutions,” says Dr. Francis Sowa, Chairman of the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG).
The President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla said: “It is good we begin to engage our membership, especially Station Managers and Editors who are the gatekeepers, on issues of professionalism, responsibility and ethical standards ahead of the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law. SLAJ will ensure its membership comply with the code of ethics and will strengthen its Disciplinary Committee within the framework of self-regulation.”
The workshops focused on developing a framework and promoting national dialogue that will ensure that journalists and other citizens perform their jobs in an ethical manner after the repeal of the criminal libel law. At the end of the workshops, the recommendations and framework will be compiled into a report and distributed to local, regional, and national authorities to serve as policy guidance for review and consideration when reviewing or drafting any potential future legislation on media regulation.