FOI Supporters Meet With Top Sierra Leone Official
Date: 29 February 2012
Advocates of the much-delayed freedom of information bill in Sierra Leone recently met with a key advisor to the president, who promised to give the bill closer study, according to a report in Sierra Express.
Five FOI Coalition members met with the Chief of Staff in the office of the President on Feb. 2 to discuss the stalled bill.
Executive Director of Society for Democratic Initiatives, Sierra Leone (SDI-SL), Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai recounted efforts to pass the law and discussed its importance, the article said. It continued
He further told the Chief of Staff that ‘The FOI coalition had the fiery conviction that the FOI bill will have a smooth sail in parliament if the government really wants to pass the bill into law that will put action to the president’s public pronouncement in support. It is very disappointing for civil society and Sierra Leone to hear that the government is blocking the passing of the FOI bill in parliament and the misconception and myth is the FOI bill will crash the existing system and status quo.
The Chief of Staff said the government is apprehensive that national security information will be exposed, the article said. He also had concerns that privacy and personal information be protected and that the government has proper records management systems in place.
Abdulai said the bill protects national security and personal information and makes provision for public institution to ensure proper records management.
“The meeting ended on a high note, with the Chief of Staff promising to read the FOI bill again to personally abreast himself with its contents and take up the suggestions with the Ministry of Information and Communication and with His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone,” according to the article.