Media Freedom At Last! Freedom of Information Act Passed Into Law


Written by Nat Nyuan Bayjay  Source: FrontPage Africa

Monrovia, Liberia
 At long last, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that will be recorded as one of the long bickered and prolonged bill that lingered in the corridors of the 52nd National Legislature has been enacted by the august body.

Addressing a news conference Thursday, Pro Temp Cletus Wortorson unveiled the information to a group of people who were the best suited to be the first to know: journalists.

“This is news that you want to hear. We have concurred with the House of Representatives in passing the Freedom of Information Act”, Pro Temp Wortorson announced.
The Senate’s concurrence on the passage came exactly a week after the House of Representatives had overwhelmingly voted to pass it into law, following a report by its joint Committee on Information and Judiciary.
The FOIA, among others, gives journalists and the public the legal right to request information and other documents from government officials, especially those relating to scandals and dark-clouded deals.
The Pro Temp however reminded journalists about the restriction that goes along with the Act which spells out penalties and other sanctions for wrongful failure to keep or provide information by any Liberian.
In a report the House’s Committee said the act promotes the right of access to information for every Liberian and a tool in the fight again corruption.
The House’s Committee, during its passage last week, said the FOI Act further establishes procedures for requesting and providing held by public and private bodies.
Many have been stressing the need for the passage of the Act which they say is important to ensure access to public information without hindrance by all Liberians.
The FOIA was submitted to the Legislature in April 2008.
Its passage now means that it will have to be signed by the President and printed into handbill before being an established law.

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