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COCORIOKO » Blog Archive » Thank God for Press Freedom in Sierra Leone under President Ernest Bai Koroma

Thank God for Press Freedom in Sierra Leone under President Ernest Bai Koroma

On an important day like this–The World Press Freedom Day–another blessing that Sierra Leoneans should be toasting and celebrating is the unfettered freedom of the press and the free flow of information prevailing in the country under the rule of President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Unlike the unhealthy and dangerous situation that obtained  under previous administrations, the media is very free in Sierra Leone today.

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First of all, Sierra Leoneans today enjoy the right to publish newspapers, magazines, and other printed matter without governmental restriction . In the past, intending publishers and proprietors were either denied that inalienable  right enshrined in the constitution or they were subjected to draconian conditions like  providing thousands of leones or bonded properties as collateral, which they could not afford . Today, under the democratic reign of President Ernest Koroma, all a prospective publisher has to do is register the newspaper with the appropriate authorities, including the Independent Media Commission ( IMC ) for a very modest fee.

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Secondly, during this Ernest Koroma time in Sierra Leone, our citizens enjoy the right to circulate  news , views and opinions in print and online without censorship by the government. Journalists are free to write or broadcast whatever they wish. This freedom is not found in many African , Western, Eastern or Asian countries. 

When you look at what is happening in Africa and around the world, we  must count ourselves blessed for the press freedom and freedom of expression thriving in our country.

We must thank God for having a President and Government who recognize the importance of freedom of speech to nation-building and the creation of common understanding and consensus in governance .

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Most of our journalist abuse this right and engage in gutter, yellow, check-book and “Brown Envelope ” journalism . They sensationalize everything, castigate the government, at times for no just cause  and levy damaging and unfounded allegations against the President, his ministers , public officials and even private citizens. The Government is very tolerant to a fault , all because President Koroma remains committed to his pledge to run Sierra Leone in the most democratic fashion imaginable, for which he has won accolades of commendation from the international community, especially the UN. 

Furthermore, unlike other countries, no media premise  in Sierra Leone has been subjected to unreasonable searches or seizures .

Best of all, no journalist has ever been imprisoned by the government since President Ernest Bai Koroma came to power in 2007.

We are talking about a country that ten or more years ago was described as the most dangerous place  to practice journalism .

Whatever its detractors say ,  the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government is a pace-setter in Sierra Leone , not only in pursuing an agressive national development agenda ;  it remains determined to protect free speech ,  freedom of the press  and a vibrant democracy and in so doing enhance the total participation of the people in the decisions that govern their lives.

COCORIOKO  therefore lauds the Government for breaking these new grounds in governance in Sierra Leone and we hope the media do not continue to abuse the privilege to inform, educate and entertain the public as government-media relations is a two-way affair.

The media should respect the trust and faith placed on them by Government to be an active player in the governance process of the country.

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