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President Julius Maada Bio Updates the Media on Repeal of the Criminal Libel Law

President Julius Maada Bio Updates the Media on Repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, Announces Subvention for Sierra Leone Association of Journalists

Radisson Blu Freetown, Wednesday 5 December 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has told journalists in Freetown that his New Direction Government is at an advanced stage in the repeal of Part V of the 1965 Public Order Act that criminalises libel.

He was addressing the inaugural Media Cocktail at Radisson Blu, organised by the Office of the Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman. The occasion brought together over 120 foreign and local journalists, editors and media owners.

“You could all recall that in Paragraph 147 of my maiden address at the State Opening of the First Session of the Fifth Parliament, I pledged my Government’s commitment to among other things ‘repeal the seditious libel law’ and ‘enhance the capacity of the IMC to enforce the IMC Act’,” he said.

The President added that that was in fulfilment of his manifesto commitment, noting that everyone was aware that: “Part V of the Public Order Act criminalises any publication that is deemed defamatory or seditious and has been used as a regime to unduly target and imprison media practitioners and silence dissident views.”

“Therefore, I am pleased to inform you that a Cabinet paper with full concurrence from the Attorney General is now before Cabinet for consideration. It is my honest and genuine view that Part Five of the Public Act of 1965 should be repealed and will be repealed in the shortest possible time,” he said.

He, however, cautioned that: “The repeal of Part V of the Public Order Act does not envisage a void in the accountability matrix relating to freedom of the press and expression, nor would it imply softening the legal regime or grant a carte blanche to journalists to defame people”.

President Bio noted that even where the justification for its retention may abound, criminalising libel was no longer fanciful, adding that the good news was that the government would soon bring an end to the breach of about half a dozen international conventions to which Sierra Leone was a signatory.

“When we repeal the Public Order Act of 1965, we hope to open up Sierra Leone’s media sector to new investment and growth, foster creativity and innovation, and support the development of high-quality journalism which will, in turn, support good governance and democratic accountability,” he said.

He also promised that his government would give the media regulatory body, Independent Media Commission, the leverage required to work independently, announced that the government subvention due the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists had been budgeted for and was available to access as and when they were ready without any preconditions.

For More Enquiries:
State House Media and Communications Unit
+232 (76) 277-001/+232 (76) 758-764

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Sierra Leone Association Of Journalists Reacts To IMC Nominations

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Official Launch Of 5th SLAJ Annual Media Awards 2019

PRESS RELEASE

Official Launch of 5th SLAJ Annual Media Awards 2019

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is pleased to announce the launch of the 5th SLAJ Annual Media Awards 2019 to honour and recognize excellence in the media in Sierra Leone.

The SLAJ Media Awards will identify and pay tribute to outstanding newspaper articles, radio reports, television broadcasts and online contributions that will help shape the development and progress of the media during 2018-2019.

The SLAJ Media Awards symbolize a move towards media self-regulation and serves as motivation towards increased professionalism in journalism in Sierra Leone. The Awards will recognize outstanding journalism, professional journalists and media institutions that have contributed to national development and the media landscape in Sierra Leone.

The SLAJ 2019 Media Awards will be presented in Freetown during the Black Tie Dinner at the SLAJ Annual General Meeting 2019.

The main award categories include:

1. Sam Metzger Award for Best Political Reporting
2. Best Reporting on Gender Issues
3. Best Economic Reporting
4. Best Reporting on Crime and the Courts
5. Best Health Reporting
6. Best Reporting on Arts, Culture and Tourism
7. Best Sports Reporting
8. Olu Awoonor Gordon Award for Best Investigative Reporting
9. Best Reporting on the Environment
10. Best Report on Human Rights

Other categories:

1. Journalist of the Year 2019
2. Best Newspaper 2019
3. Best Radio Station 2019- Western Region
4. Best Radio Station 2019- Northern Region
5. Best Radio Station 2019- North-West Region
6. Best Radio Station 2019- Eastern Region
7. Best Radio Station 2019- Southern Region
8. Best Television Station 2019

Eligibility:

• The 2019 SLAJ Media Awards is open to all registered, practicing and paid up members of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ). All entries will be cross-referenced with an up-to-date list of SLAJ members.

How to enter:

• Entries may be submitted at the SLAJ Headquarters on Campbell St., Freetown or via the regional offices of SLAJ in Makeni, Kenema and Bo.
• Entries can also be electronically submitted to SLAJ via email- [email protected]
• All submissions must be received on or before 5:00 PM, on 30th April 2019.

Criteria for all submissions:

• Newspaper, magazine articles, radio and TV programmes printed or aired between 1st July 2018 and 30th April 2019 are eligible.
• All submissions must be accompanied by the following information – clearly indicated and submitted on a separate piece of paper:

o Name
o Contact information – phone, e-mail address, etc.
o Media house – where published/aired
o Category entered
o All entries must be clearly labelled or submission will be disqualified.

To sponsor any category/categories
please call: 076602825 / 076470288/ 030644218 / 0766773431.

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4th Annual SLAJ Media Awards

PRESS RELEASE

4th Annual SLAJ Media Awards

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is pleased to announce the winners of its 4th Annual Media Awards, the ceremony of which was held on the night of 14th July, 2018 at the Albertson Hotel Hall, Nyadayma Road, Kenema City during its Annual General Meeting.

The SLAJ Media Awards aim to honour and recognize excellence in the media in Sierra Leone by paying tribute to journalists with outstanding newspaper articles, radio reports, television broadcasts and online contributions that help shape the development and progress of the media yearly.

Furthermore, the SLAJ Media Awards symbolize a move towards media self-regulation and serve as motivation towards increased professionalism in journalism in Sierra Leone.

A total of 41 entries were received (none from the provinces) for nine award categories out of 10. No entries were received for the category of ‘Best Reporting on the Elections 2018’ even though many journalists reported on the 2018 elections campaign and the elections itself.

A panel of four independent judges collectively judged all categories. Overall, the judges noted slight improvement in the reports especially in the aspects of sourcing and background research.

Each winner claims a trophy, certificate, digital tape recorder and a cheque of Le1m (One Million Leones). The tape recorders were donated by Internews through the USAID and CEPPS (Strengthening Democracy Through Partnerships).

 

1. WILLIETE JAMES- Sam Metzger Award for Best Political
Reporting
Article: ‘The EBK Effect’ (Published by News Watch
Magazine)

2. HAWA BARRIE- Best Reporting on Gender Issues
‘Male cosmetologist’ (Broadcast by SLBC/TV)

3. AMADU LAMRANA BAH- Best Economic Reporting
‘The Unavailability of Foreign Exchange in the Market and
its Effect on the Economy’ (Broadcast by Star TV)

4. JANE B. MANSARAY- Best Reporting on Crime and the Courts
‘Mother jailed for child cruelty’ (Published by Global Times)

5. ZAINAB IYAMIDE JOAQUE- Best Health Reporting
‘Culture vs STIs’ (Published by Awoko Newspaper)

6. MOHAMED KONNEH- Best Reporting on Arts, Culture and
Tourism
‘Pujehun District remains a forgotten tourist destination’
(Published by Standard Times Newspaper)

7. BERNARD TURAY- Best Sports Reporting
‘What’s Wrong with women’s sports?’ (Published by Awoko
Newspaper)

8. MICHAEL SAMBOLA- Olu Awoonor Gordon Award for Best
Investigative Reporting
‘Expired cheeseballs’ (Broadcast by Radio Democracy
98.1FM)

9. ISHMAIL KINDAMA DUMBUYA- Best Reporting on the
Environment
‘Proactive measures by government could have saved
victims at Regent’
(Published by Standard Times Newspaper)

Meanwhile, this year’s SLAJ Lifetime Award went to MARIAMA COKER, former Press Attaché to the Republics of Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia.

In addition, special recognition awards were given to the following media houses and diplomatic institution:

1. RADIO DEMOCRACY 98.1 FM- for outstanding coverage of the 2018 Elections

2. INDEPENDENT RADIO NETWORK- for outstanding coverage of the 2018 Elections

3. AYV MEDIA- for outstanding coverage of the 2018 Elections

4. AWOKO NEWSPAPER – for outstanding coverage of the 2018 Elections

5. The EUROPEAN UNION- for their support to SLAJ during the 2018 Elections.

Signed:

AHMED SAHID NASRALLA
National Secretary General

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Blog Press Release

CONCERN OVER INCREASE IN HATE SPEECH & TRIBALISM AHEAD OF THE RUN-OFF ELECTIONS

PRESS RELEASE
Freetown | 16 March 2018

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is deeply concerned about the increase in hate speech and tribal slants creeping into the conversation on the elections ahead of the run-off slated for 27th March 2018.

SLAJ views this trend of political discourse as ugly for our nascent democracy and its potential to undermine the peace and stability of Sierra Leone cannot be overemphasized.

Sierra Leone is hugely admired across the world for its ethnic and religious tolerance which are deeply rooted in its culture. Any attempt to tamper with this enviable attribute will spell doom for our nation and generations yet unborn.

We therefore condemn any politician (or political party) playing the tribal card and ethno-regional sentiment in their campaigns to secure votes in this run-off election.

We also condemn and dissociate from any journalist who peddle hate speech and preach tribalism in their publications/commentaries/analyses on the elections.

Furthermore, we call on all journalists and their media houses to resist any attempt by politicians to use them to promote divisions among our people.

As evident in our National Dialogue Series in the run up to the elections, and the 2018 Presidential Debate Series, SLAJ continues to encourage politicians, political parties and their supporters to focus on issue-based discourse around the elections rather than personalities or tribal/regional sentiment.

SLAJ President, Kelvin Lewis, says: “This country belongs to all of us, we should stop this nonsense about tribe or region and begin to show love for this land that we love, our Sierra Leone.”

Sign:
Ahmed Sahid Nasralla
National Secretary General