By Amin Kef Sesay
The Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) in a Press Statement, dated 28th July 2020 and signed by its General Secretary, Abdul Karim Kamara Esq. stated that it has been following with rapt interest the fulfillment of various manifesto promises made by His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, particularly those touching on the Rule of Law, Human Rights and Justice.
It continued that they note with pleasure that steady and significant progress has been made in achieving some of these promises especially those that engendered doubt and pessimism among some sections of the citizenry, particularly the Press.
The Bar Association said on Thursday the 23 July 2020 Sierra Leone witnessed the rolling out of the Sexual Offences Model Court, with a mandate to specialize in handling allegations of rape and sex related offences. “This is highly commendable to say the least,” they furthered.
“There is no gain saying that the next in the line of threats currently affecting us as a Nation is the reckless and rampant pace at which pedophiles and other heartless Men have become addicted to perpetrating such abuse,” the Association members stated.
It pointed out that again, on the 24th July 2020, barely two years after coming to power, that the Government “unchained” the Press by championing and actually implementing arguably the most significant Law Reform in the history of Press Freedom in Sierra Leone. The repeal and replacement of the Criminal and Seditious Libel Law as embedded in the Public Order Act of 1965 (Act No. 46 of 1965) Part V thereof. The SLBA, says it firmly believes that this singular action has the proclivity to create the enabling environment for press freedom, social and political accountability and generally good governance.
SLBA registers its appreciation to the Minister of Information, Hon. Mohamed Rahman Swaray, his Deputy, Mamadi Gobeh Kamara, Members of Parliament, the various past Presidents of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Civil Society groups, Members of the Bar Association and all who agitated in one way or another to achieve this great milestone.
It stated that to His Excellency, the President, the SLBA says A BIG THANK YOU for his Political will and leadership in repealing, replacing and hence giving a fatal blow to such an archaic provision in our Public Order Act aforesaid.
Indeed, every Sierra Leonean can now say boldly that at last freedom of Information is free.