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Journalists' group declares news blackout on judiciary

(MFWA/IFEX) - The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) on 15 June 2009 imposed a news blackout on the country's judiciary, as part of its sustained campaign to get the Supreme Court to expunge the Public Order Act of 1960.

A source told the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) that the action is a result of the Supreme Court's long delay in giving its verdict on the case filed by SLAJ challenging the constitutionality of the Public Order Act which is very inimical to media freedom in particular and freedom of expression generally.

SLAJ has directed its members to desist from carrying or reporting activities of the judiciary until 20 June.

SLAJ initiated the suit in February 2008 for a repeal of the law which the authorities used to send a number of journalists to prison.

Even though the verdict should have been given within three months of the end of the court case, as required by the Constitution, the court has failed to provide a ruling.

SLAJ threatened that should this action fail to achieve its purpose, it would adopt other new methods of protest.

Meanwhile, SLAJ has expressed its resolve to mobilize civil society groups, human rights organizations and the international community to mount pressure on the authorities to repeal the law which infringes upon the right to free expression.

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