(By Hilary Vasco Wiagbe/LINA)
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has disclosed plans to submit a Bill to the Legislature to decimalize media-related offenses in keeping with the ‘Table Mountain Declaration’ to which Liberia has acceded.
Sirleaf said after lengthy debates and reviews by stakeholders, it is agreed that the law will advance government’s democratic aspirations and foster unhindered public debates, urging the Legislature to ensure its passage.
According to the Liberia News Agency, the President’s statements were contained in her Annual Message delivered Monday in the Joint Chambers of the National Legislature in compliance with Article 58 of the Liberian Constitution, requiring that the President delivers said message on the fourth working Monday of every year.
“We are hopeful that it will improve rather than retard the growing media landscape of our country, and again testify to our continued commitment to an opened society ably supported by a responsible and independent press,” she observed.
Meanwhile, the Liberian leader has applauded the e media for the level of cooperation in its reportage of the Ebola crisis which kept citizens fully informed on the outbreak, describing the media as “a very critical ally along the path to good governance.”
Pres. Sirleaf indicated that the government’s partnership with the media has been open, frank, and sometimes rocky, but mutually independent, adding that never before has the country seen “an aggressive, thriving and outspokenly critical media landscape amid abuse in the name of freedom.”
“This government intends to lead a legacy of tolerance and remains fully committed to such process along our journey to democratic maturity. We urge the media which today comprise an unprecedented 35 newspapers and 80 radio stations, to play its part to improve professionalism and responsibility as we will hold them responsible for adherence to our policies and laws,” she stated.