Sierra Leone attained independence on the 27th of April 1961. It is bordered by Guinea to the northeast, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south western part. The country has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests.
Sierra Leone is divided into four administrative regions: the Northern Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area; which are subdivided into fourteen districts. It is a predominantly Muslim country with an influential Christian minority.
The country’s economy relies on mining diamonds and is a major producer of gold. Sierra Leone is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite in the world. English is the language of instruction in schools and the official language in government administration
Overview of Media & FOE Environment
The relationship between the media and the government is cordial in Sierra Leone. Media atmosphere in Sierra Leon remains relatively stable as media houses are allowed to operate with little interference. The umbrella body for practicing journalists periodically runs training workshops for media practitioners, thus improving professionalism in the media.
Media regulatory bodies and associations in Sierra Leone include the Independent Media Commission (IMC), the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL), Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL), Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU), and the Association of Journalist on Mining and Extractives (AJME).
Legal Framework for Media Operation
The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation Act, 2009 [No. 1 of 2010]
It is an Act that establishes the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation and provides for other related matters.
The Independent Media Commission (Amendment) Act, 2006 [No. 3 of 2006]
Amends the Independent Media Commission Act, 2000.
The Independent Media Commission Act, 2000 [No. 12 of 2000]
An Act that establishes an autonomous body for the regulation of mass media institutions and for other matters connected therewith.
Repeals the Newspapers Act (Cap. 111). Amended by No. 16 of 2006.
MFWA’S work in Sierra Leone
The MFWA has been carrying out media rights monitoring, media capacity building, and media development interventions in Sierra Leone for the past fifteen years. MFWA’s work in Sierra Leone has contributed immensely to achieving the current improved conditions of press freedom and free expression.
The MFWA continues to monitor media rights violations in the country. MFWA’s Future engagements in Sierra Leone will strongly focus on media development for participatory and accountable governance; and internet/digital rights advocacy to enhance online freedom and democratic consolidation