PUL Embraces Enhanced Gov’t Support To Decriminalize Offenses

{By: Eldred Thomas/GNN Senior Reporter}

President of the Press Union Of Liberia, Mr. Kamara
President of the Press Union Of Liberia, Mr. Kamara

The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) says the renewed commitments by some key government ministries and agencies towards expanding transparency in government service, including their support to decriminalize media offences in the country, is an important factor in enhancing development in Liberia.

PUL further noted that the singular action by those agencies to make this commitment, supports President Sirleaf’s 2012 to sign the Declaration of the Table Mountain strengthens accountability and transparency in the Liberian government, and is a loud solidarity statement into current efforts by the Press Union and partners to reform the media landscape in the country.

The President of the PUL, Abdullai Kamara said this collaboration will contribute significantly to the final repeal of laws representing the vestige of a system which worked against the press, free speech and the establishment of a culture of transparency is overcome.

Stressing further, “We cannot be seriously fighting for transparency and accountability, when there are loop holes in the laws providing room for individuals in public service to threaten and harass journalists who have mustered the courage to pursue corruption cases,” Kamara said.

The Press Union’s statement follows an August 1 joint statement by the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, the Liberia Revenue Authority, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, with the aim of ending corruption and other forms of illicit financial transactions in the country.

Kamara said the Press Union sees the collaboration as especially positive, and has meanwhile extended an arm of collaboration to work along with the agencies on its current media law reform task force.

This, the PUL President noted will allow them to transform their public positions to energies and actions for the good of the growing Liberian Democracy.

Press Union in partnership with Internews/USAID-supported Liberia Media Development, at the close of a media law conference in May 2016, the set up a task force involving the Ministries of Information and Justice, the Law Reform Commission and various civil society partners to resuscitate the media law reform process.

The Liberia Media Law reform process, which began in 2004, has so far ensured the passage of the Freedom of Information Law in 2010.

The statement further observed that other laws as outstanding in the parcel of laws are an act to decriminalize speech offenses, an act to transform the Liberian Broadcasting System into a public service broadcaster; and the act to establish an independent broadcast regulator.

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About Cholo Brooks 15607 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.