Sierra Leone is currently ranked at 74 out of 180 countries in the recent World Press Freedom Report released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday.

The recent ranking meant that the West African nation has slipped from 46 place in 2022 to 74 in 2023 -its worst ranking in more than 15 years. The media watchdog tagged Sierra Leone and 55 other countries to be problematic

The report studied multiple indicators including political, economic, legislative, social and security.

Sierra Leone performed the best in the social indicator which addresses issues like race, gender, religion, cultural and ethnicity. The West African nation ranked 71 places scoring 72.24.

Its worst performance indicator is security where Sierra Leone is ranked in 102 places scoring 61.27. The score meant that Sierra Leonean journalists are facing serious constraints in the gathering and dissemination of news without hindrance from security personnel. It also means that journalists are risk of being targets of arbitrary arrest.

Sierra Leone’s next-door neighbour, Guinea shockingly performed better in the Security indicator ranking at 95 places -seven places above Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone is among a few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to have repealed their seditious libel law. However, the country also enacted a cyber law that some believe contains elements that could undermine press freedom.

In fact, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists’ (SLAJ) President, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla said Section 44 of the Cyber Law could undermine press freedom and freedom of expression from citizens in general.

The report by RSF has been met with unease by media practitioners as the West African nation sets to conduct their multi-tier election on 24 June this year.