Sierra Leone Political Orientation
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 62.78 – Moderate Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Sierra Leone 74/180
Reporters Without Borders states that Sierra Leone has legal press freedom and a diverse media scene. However, journalists can face random arrests and detentions. Despite the media’s general independence, political influence can occur; according to the BBC, broadcasters grapple with issues such as inconsistent power supplies, inadequate funding, and low advertising revenues.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Sierra Leone has a diverse media landscape with many different outlets, including state-owned and private entities. The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) is under government ownership and regulated by the Independent Media Commission (IMC). IMC operates under the direct supervision of the Parliament, which is responsible for approving its annual budget and appointing new board members.
In addition to government-owned media, several private radio and television stations operate in the country, such as Voice of America, BBC World Service, UN Radio, and Radio Democracy, which receive support from the Open Society Foundation.
Sierra Leone’s print media sector comprises various newspapers, including privately-owned Awoko, known for its critical stance on government, as highlighted by the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ)—other privately owned newspapers like Concord Times and Freetown Standard Times Press. However, the website of Freetown Standard Times Press redirects to a different site.
Lately, the government has taken steps to promote media freedom, including the repeal of criminal libel laws. Moreover, according to VOA, journalists in Sierra Leone have launched a tech-based initiative called iVerify for its recent election. This initiative aims to combat the spread of online misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech.
Despite challenges, Sierra Leone has made notable progress in promoting diverse ownership of media outlets and improving press freedom which has positively impacted the development of the media industry in the country. However, economic factors continue to present obstacles to fully realizing the potential of media freedom in Sierra Leone.
Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check