Joining the number of praises that are pouring in for President Bio and his government, Guild of Newspaper Editors Sierra Leone (GoNE-SL) has expressed it deeply appreciation of the repeal of the criminal and seditious libel laws contained in Part 5 of the Public Order Act, 1965.
The Guild made this Press Statement in a press release. The Guild noted that the 55-year-old law was not only obnoxious and evil but it was cruel and deadly to the practice of journalism in Sierra Leone.
“Through it, successive governments have suppressed and oppressed journalists, especially those in the print media. There is a long line of editors who have suffered by it, some with their lives and properties,” the Guild mentioned.
That since 1965 unto the present there has emerged men and women who have dared to stand up for press freedom and that free speech will and should triumph in Sierra Leone, as it does in other parts of the world.
That with deep courtesy, GoNE-SL salutes His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio and his Government, the Parliament of Sierra Leone, national and international partners, and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and its constituent bodies, for making the repeal process a success story.
“Everyone deserves commendation; especially President Bio for standing by his manifesto promise to repeal our libel laws,” said Donald Theo-Harding, Chairman of GoNE-SL. That it’s a new era for the media in Sierra Leone and that they believed that better investment and growth will come for the benefit of everyone in the media industry.
“I implore colleague editors to wield their pens in a responsible manner and to duly note that we still have the 1961 civil libel law and the Bankruptcy Act 2009 in our books that are also very stringent,” the Guild Chairman added.