The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has presented a Golden Jubilee Recognition Award to the Embassy of the Republic of Ireland in Sierra Leone for their continuous support towards freedom of expression and the empowerment of women and girls in the small West African country.
The award was announced at the SLAJ Annual General Meeting in Bo City in June 2021 as part of celebrations marking the Association’s 50 years of existence but was officially presented to the Embassy on Monday 13th December 2021.
According to the SLAJ President, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, SLAJ recognises, appreciates, and is grateful for the role played by the Irish Embassy (and other International partners) towards the repeal of Part Five of the 1965 Public Order Act that criminalises libel and free speech.
“We worked a great deal with the outgone Second Secretary of the Embassy of Ireland in Sierra Leone Daire Courtney to achieve the repeal. So we share this historic victory with the Embassy,” said Nasralla while presenting the SLAJ Golden Jubilee Recognition Award to the new Irish Ambassador Claire Buckley and her team.
The SLAJ President called on the Embassy to see how best they could collaborate with SLAJ and its affiliate bodies, especially Women In The Media (WIMSAL), towards building a strong and independent media in the country and also support training relating to women empowerment in the media and generally.
He assured the Irish Embassy that SLAJ would continue to hold the government accountable on issues of national interest and the rule of law, particularly those relating to freedom of expression and human rights across the country.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Buckley expressed appreciation to SLAJ for recognising their work over the years, disclosing that they have supported and would continue to support initiatives toward the protection of human rights, especially in the area of freedom of expression, and more women representation in governance.
Credit: SLAJ Secretariat
As we celebrate IWD 2022, SLAJ recognises the progress the women of Sierra Leone have made in a lot of areas, including in the media, but we also want to remind everyone that there’s still a long way to go to achieve a level playing field where women and men can compete equally.
We urge women to take advantage of the moment and occupy the chairs on the high table. If the men have occupied all the chairs, come with your own chairs and sit confidently.
Security Sector heads and SLAJ President pose with copies of MoU
The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the
Security Sector, comprising Office of National Security (ONS) of OAU Drive, Tower Hill, Freetown; the Sierra
Leone Police (SLP) of George Street, Freetown; the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) c/o
Ministry of Defence, State Avenue, Freetown; the National Fire Force (NFF) of AJ Momoh Street, Freetown;
the Sierra Leone Correctional Services (SLCS) of New England Ville, Freetown; and the Central Intelligence
and Security Unit (CISU) of OAU Drive, Tower Hill, Freetown.
The signing of the MoU climaxed a Roundtable Dialogue between SLAJ and the Security Sector marking the
International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists 2nd November 2021.
The MoU commits both parties to maintain law and order and ensure the safety and security of journalists at
SLAJ President, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, said:
“This is the start of constructive engagement with the Security Sector in a bid to address the perennial
problem of assault of journalists by security officials during political and presidential functions. This dialogue
gives us an opportunity to understand, respect, support, and strengthen each other’s role in the functioning of
All security sector heads present at the round table dialogue welcomed and applauded the initiative and urged
journalists to equally respect the role of the security sector in the maintenance of law and order without which
the work of the media will be impossible.
The Inspector-General of Police, Ambrose Sovula (Ph.D.), said:
“This is history-making, and I want to commend SLAJ for initiating this kind of engagement with the security
sector. We are all partners and there is a need for us to complement each other’s roles. We urge journalists to
be professional. I pledge the SLP’s commitment to this MoU and I will ensure every police commander across the country receives a copy of this MoU to inform the police officers under their command.”
See the full statement of SLAJ President here: Statement of SLAJ President at Round Table with Security Sector
See details of the MoU here: Details of SLAJ & Security Sector MoU