By: Ishmael Bayoh



The over 50 years of the obnoxious criminal and seditious libel provisions in the 1965 Public Order Act that was repealed on Thursday 23rd July, 2020 by Parliament of Sierra Leone was assented to by President Dr. Julius Maada Bio on 28th October, 2020.

The repeal of the obnoxious law was one of the most successful landmark achievements the country had had in its more than 60 years since independence in 1961. The Public Order Act of 1965 criminalised free speech and stifled media practice in Sierra Leone against our national law and regional, international human rights instruments.

Since the repeal, journalists have been practising freely, and the media have only now within this period witnessed what freedom is like. President Bio has kept to his words of enabling a pluralistic media.

We are now talking about post repeal and media viability as an enabler to strengthening our democracy.

The Independent Media Commission Chairman, Dr. Victor Massaquoi informed President Bio during a post repeal engagement on 26th October, 2023 at State

House that his Commission’s report that 90% of aggrieved members of the public now turn to them with their complaints against the media and members of the press instead of seeking redress in court.

Freedom of Expression is guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 9 of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and Section 25 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.