Liberia Freedom of Information Act goes to Legislature

Monday, April 21, 2008
The Liberia Media Law and Policy Reform Working Group under the auspices of the Press Union of Liberia will on April 17, 2008 submit three sets of Bills to the National Legislature for enactment.

The draft bills include the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, an Act to establish an Independent Broadcasting Regulatory body and an Act to transform the Liberia Broadcasting System into the Liberia Public Broadcasting Service. 

The objective of the FOI is to “grant members of the public the right of access to information in the possession of public authorities or private bodies performing public functions…” 

The Act to establish an Independent Broadcasting Regulatory body intends “to make provision for the regulation of broadcasting with a view to promoting independent, pluralistic broadcasting in the public interest.” It is to further “establish a juristic person to be known as the Independent Broadcasting Authority which shall wholly independently of State, government and party and political influences and free from other forms of bias and interference.

” The objective of “the Liberia Public Broadcasting Service shall be to provide a truly independent, nonpartisan, credible, professionally efficient and accountable public broadcasting service that will cater to the needs of the Liberian people and thereby promote a vibrant, open, stable and democratized society.

” Media professionals, civil society actors and interested individuals will assemble at the union’s headquarters to march to the Capitol Building.

 The PUL said it feels fulfilled that the laws are finally drafted with the help of its partners after three years formulation and said it is counting on the combined efforts of the public and government for the passage of the bills. 

The Press Union believes the passage of the Bills would ensure greater openness and accountability in post-war Liberia and called on the public to join the media as they petition the National Legislature to pass the bills. 

Issued by MFWA, Accra, April 17, 2008

The MFWA is a regional independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Accra. It was founded in 1997 to defend and promote the rights and freedom of the media and all forms of expression.

Source: Media Foundation for West Africa