President Bio Improves Press Freedom in Sierra Leone – MCC Report Reveals

The recent Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC) report ranked Sierra Leone very high in the Freedom of Information index with a score of 90%.

The state of press freedom prior to the advent of the New Direction was nothing to write home about in Sierra Leone. It is against this backdrop that candidate Julius Maada Bio promised citizens a New Direction in the media landscape if voted for in the 2018 elections.

In his New Direction 2018 Manifesto, candidate Bio promised to repeal the obnoxious criminal libel law and institute other reforms that will enhance and create a conducive environment for the media to thrive.

After his election in 2018, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio appointed a seasoned media guru in the person of Mr. Mohamed Rahman Swaray who has conscientiously worked in line with the vision and aspirations of his boss, the president.

The recent Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC) report ranked Sierra Leone very high in the Freedom of Information index with a score of 90%.

According to MCC report, the Freedom of Information measures legal and practical steps taken by a government to enable or allow information to move freely through society; this includes measures of press freedom, national freedom of information laws and the extent to which a country is shutting down the internet or social media.

The government of President Bio has opened the media space and continues to implement policies and legislations geared towards improving the media and journalists generally.

The Minister of information and Communications Honorable Mohamed Rahman Swaray has superintended over the strengthening of the IMC Act, repealing of the obnoxious criminal libel law, the Cyber Security and Crime Act and the effective running of the Right to Access information Commission. All these reforms captured the eyes of MCC and catapulted Sierra Leone to the highest level in terms of access to information and free media.

Today in Sierra Leone we have seen an exponential increase in newspapers, radio stations, television stations and the proliferation of social media users. The citizens are given the free space to express their concerns and hold government accountable. Journalists who were known to have an extension of their bed rooms at CID or Pa Demba Prison are today freely practicing their trade without fear of persecution.

However the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone is extant on the protection of the fundamental human rights of citizens and therefore, citizens must exercise their constitutional rights responsibly.

Sierra Leone is now a safe haven for journalists and that encompasses the reason why President Bio was awarded Champion of Free Speech by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists.

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