Information Minister, Mohamed Rahman Swaray Shares President Bio’s Media Successes at UNESCO World Press Freedom Conference

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information has confirmed to the public that he is in Uruguay for an international Press Freedom Conference.

Minister Swaray recently posted…” On a national assignment at the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day 2020 Conference where I will shortly be sharing the gains made by HE President Julius Maada Bio and Media Partners.

Within President Bio’s tenure of 4years in office, he was able to repeal the draconian1965 Public Order Act law which many considers a major hindrance to the promotion of free speech.

On 2-5, May 2022, UNESCO and the Republic of Uruguay are hosting the annual World Press Freedom Day Global Conference in a hybrid format in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. The Conference will address the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information, and privacy and will develop concrete recommendations to address these challenges.

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Sanitary conditions permitting, the goal is to have the largest possible number of participants join in person, with all sessions live-streamed via an online platform.

The Minister was pleased to note that Sierra Leone has progressed impressively on the World Press Freedom Index moving 29 places from its 75th place in 2021 to 46th in 2022. He claimed they remain committed to deepening ongoing reforms in the media for long-term viability and sustainability.

The 20th World Press Freedom Index methodology defines press freedom as “the effective possibility for journalists, as individuals and as groups, to select, produce and disseminate news and information in the public interest, independently from political, economic, legal and social interference, and without threats to their physical and mental safety.” In order to reflect press freedom’s complexity, five new indicators are now used to compile the Index: the political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context, and security.

The 2022 report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) recognises that Sierra Leone’s media sector is pluralist and generally independent and Freedom of the press is guaranteed by law.

World Press Freedom Day 2022 will reunite relevant stakeholders such as policymakers, journalists, media representatives, activists, cybersecurity managers and legal experts to explore these issues and develop concrete solutions to address the threats posed by increased surveillance to press freedom and privacy.

Every year, 3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.

This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.

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