07 May 2012

Fuming Sierra Leone parliamentarian threatens to block FOI Bill

May 3rd marked Press Freedom day, however, celebrations in Sierra Leone were cut short as Honourable Sheku B. B Dumbuya blew his gasket. The parliamentarian reportedly went off at journalists who had gathered at Parliament to submit a petition for the speedy adoption of the Freedom of Information Bill.

The Majority Leader in Parliament for the ruling All People's Congress (APC), lost his cool and transcended protocol as he shouted and threatened that the Freedom of Information Bill would not be passed.

According to the Minister of Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, the bill was due to be passed on 7 May. Following the outburst by Dumbuya, there has not been any official statement on when the bill will be passed.

The protest march lead by Sierra Leone Association of Journalist (SLAJ) who gathered at the State house, also sort for the removal of section (5) of the Public Order Act of 1961 that criminalises libel.

SALJ's petition was accepted by a calmer Chief of Staff, Kelfala Marah, who promised to pass on the petition to the President.
Giving his statement earlier at State House, the SLAJ National Secretary, Ishmael Koroma, said President Ernest Bai Koroma had promised during his 2007 campaign that he will expunge section 5 and five years later it still remains. He raised his concerns on the pattern developing in Sierra Leone with how the law makers and politicians behave.


For more information please contact the Freedom of Information Programme.