Under the new Media Code of Practice, which is already in force, the Independent Media Commission (IMC) is now empowered to suspend or cancel the registration of any medium that breaches the code.
This fact was made by lawyer C. F Edwards who was interpreting the Media Code of Practice and the Amended IMC Act 2007 yesterday at the IMC office at Siaka Stevens Street where the code was launched.
The IMC chairperson, Mrs Bernadette Cole, said the code of ethic was adopted in consultation with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ).
She urged that journalists should take ownership of the code of ethics and use it as a guide book for self regulation and responsible journalism.
The IMC chairperson said the code of ethics had also incorporated the code of ethics on election reporting done by SLAJ and UNIOSIL.
The information minister, Professor Septimus Kaikai before launching the Code of Ethics, remarked that as a government they had no desire to muzzle the press. He emphasized that, “we want a free press but with responsibility.”
Prof. Kaikai said the media in Sierra Leone were no longer toothless bulldogs but could now bite. He stated that, “this code of ethics will now help to reclaim the past glory of the media”.
SLAJ‘s secretary general, Karim Sei, encouraged journalists to abide by the code of ethics. He however pointed out that, “IMC is a regulating body and not a censor or controlling body”.
The SLAJ secretary general said his association was satisfied with IMC in its arbitration role.
“The IMC has been considered a toothless bulldog but with the new code, they should develop enough teeth to bite but they should bite the right persons,” Mr Sei accentuated.