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In Sierra Leone, a rare opening for press freedom

Freedom of the press July 8.– Amid the spread of disinformation-fueled “opinion media” in democratic societies, and government censorship and propaganda in autocracies, press freedom is declining globally.

Sierra Leone, however, is moving in the other direction. The West African nation rose 29 places in Reporters Without Borders (RSF)’s 2022 press freedom rankings, to 46th globally — comparable to Uruguay, South Korea and the U.S.

The country’s rapid rise against the current global trends comes in the aftermath of a repeal of its 1965 Criminal and Seditious Libel Law, which had been used to repress journalists critical of the government.

Press conference in Sierra LeonePress conference in Sierra Leone“A year on from signing the repeal, 130 registered newspapers, 165 registered radio stations and 42 registered television stations continue to operate freely,” said President Dr. Julius Maada Bio at a press conference last year.

Today, “there is no journalist in prison for the practice of journalism,” he said.

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