The records of the two leading presidential candidates on Press Freedom speak volumes as they are so distinctly different. President Ernest Bai Koroma has resisted urge from few short-sighted aides for him to back their charging of any journalist to court or support arrest of a journalist. In sharp contrast, main opposition presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio as the NPRC military junta Minister of Information from May 1992 until August 1992, insisted Sierra Leone press should be subjected to what he drafted as press laws and submitted to NPRC Cabinet.
Lieutenant Maada Bio, despite resistance from some NPRC Cabinet & Supreme Council members, insisted that his drafted laws should be decreed. As a result NPRC Government agreed with its Information Minister Maada Bio’s draconian and wicked press decree and on July 10th 1992, Maada Bio’s Decree No. 6 was promulgated.
This led to journalists being beaten up, arrested, locked up and charged to court. At the time, Bio held senior command position in NPRC as he supervised the country’s Finances, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Information as well as held position of Minister of Information.
Lieutenant Maada Bio’s unpopularity became so bad that Captain Valentine Strasser within 30 days of promulgation of the decree, was forced to remove Lieutenant Maada Bio as Information Minister and appointed late Hindolo Trye.
Meanwhile, we have reproduced a recent coverage which indicates what a Bio Presidency will be like.