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Freetown – The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists today observed World Press Freedom Day with scores of journalists peacefully processing through the main streets of Freetown with placards calling for a repeal of Criminal and Seditious Libel Law and the promulgation without further delay of the Freedom of Information Law. The procession took off from the SLAJ Headquarters, went to Parliament Building and State House before hitting the Cotton Tree and returning to SLAJ HQ.
At State House, the SLAJ President, Umaru Fofana presented the petition letter to President Ernest Bai Koroma and reminded him about the need for the repeal of Criminal and Seditious Libel Law from the country’s law books. President Koroma renewed his commitment to a review of the law for which he encouraged an engagement process between Government and other stakeholders in the process.
At Parliament, the SLAJ President presented a petition letter to the Speaker of the House, Hon Justice Nathaniel Abel Stronge and registered the concerns from the association and the public over the delay in the promulgation of the Freedom of Information Bill. The Speaker said the bill was being studied and would be passed in due course. But the SLAJ president urged MPs to not keep the process indeterminably long. The petition letter to the Speakers expresses appreciation over “efforts made by especially Honourable Members of the Legislative Committee…but all of those efforts will be shrouded in suspicion and speculation ending in fruitlessness if the bill continues to be shelved.”
Tonight, SLAJ will hold a vigil and a candle-light procession around its headquarters in commemoration of the killing in 2005 of Harry Yansanneh, Editor of For Di People Newspaper and other journalists who died more recently.
Signed: Ismael Koroma, National Secretary General, SLAJ
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