The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists has organized a one-day workshop for Bloggers on understanding the cyber Security and Crime Act 2021. The workshop took place at the SLAJ Head quarter, Campbell Street Freetown today, 24th, August 2022.

Giving the opening remarks the president of SLAJ Ahmed Sahid Nasralla elaborated on the main purpose of the engagement and stated that most bloggers don’t have a clear clue of the things entailed in the Act which he said is very risky for their job as they may fall victims.

The facilitator of the event Dr. Francis Sowa a lecturer and National Coordinator of Media at SLAJ started by giving a background of the Act and how it finally came into existence and also making mentioned the National Cybersecurity Advisory Council which is responsible to combat cybersecurity, implementing cybersecurity policy, etc and the different people and institutions constitute of it. He further revealed that the Act establishes the acceptable behavior in the use of information and communication technology(ICT), set rules for the detection and prosecution of cyber crimes, and prescribes punishments.

He went further to state that cyber offenses are categorized into different categories and lay emphasis on section 44 which talks about cyberstalking and cyberbullying which he said are the most common among bloggers and even the public.

Cyberstalking is said to be “repeatedly communicating directly or indirectly with a person, while you know or you ought to have known that your behavior may cause that other person the fear of violence or threaten to damage or create a loss of their property, or detrimental effect that person”.

Cyberbullying is “Sending messages through a computer system or network that is grossly offensive, pornographic, indecent, obscene, or menacing, or to cause any such message to be disseminated without consent to cause damage, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another”.

Dr. Sowa further emphasized that the Cyber Security and Crime Act 2021 criminalizes cyberbullying. He added that Cybercrimes range from attacks on individual people(including webcam, blackmail, fraud, hacking, harassment, etc)

The engagement climaxed with group work as participants were asked to develop different messages and gave possible recommendations about the 2021 Cyber Security Act to be disseminated to the public.