Press Freedom Act Finally Passed

Monrovia: The Liberian Senate today at 12:13 pm concurred With House of Representatives on the Passage of the “Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom”.

The Senate took the decision on Thursday, February 7, 2019, during its 8th day sitting 2nd session of the 54th Legislature.

The Senate concurrence vote was triggered by a comprehensive report from the Body’s Committee on Information, Broadcasting, Culture and tourism.

The Act as submitted by President George M. Weah is intended to amend the “Liberian codes revised, penal law of 1978 of the Republic of Liberia, Chapter 11, by repealing sections 11. 11, 11.12 and 11.14, to be known as the Kamara Abdullah Kamara act of Press Freedom.”

Prior to the passage of the Bill into law, the committee conducted public hearings to ascertain the importance attached to the Bill. The hearing was attended by the Press Union of Liberia, West African Journalist Association, InterNews, and Center for Media Studies and Peace Building.

The Panelists presentation convinced members of the Committee on Information Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism for the passage of the Bill.

During the hearing, the President of the Press Union of the Liberia Mr. Charles B. Cuffey, Jr and the other Panelists argued strongly that the Press Freedom has been the “Heart” of the media struggle in Liberia.

The Panelists said anti-media laws are used against the Liberian media, naming criminal libel against the President, Sedition and criminal malevolence as examples.

PUL President and his Colleagues argued that those laws prohibit the media from providing balanced and timely stories. Noting further that the existing law limits the media from adequately reaching out to the general public and repealing those provisions will allow citizens to cultivate a sense of ownership and can challenge the laws they believed in.

Based on the convincing arguments from the PUL and the other media actors as stated by in the Committees’ report, the Senate voted to concur with the Lower House following a motion proffered by the Chair on Information, Broadcast Culture and Tourism, Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay.

The Bill will be sent to the President for his approval, thereafter, it becomes a law.

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