A Liberian journalist has formally submitted Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the National Port Authority (NPA) to obtain data on company implementing dredging agreement between the National Port Authority (NPA) and APM Terminal, which was signed on August 30, 2022.
The FOI Request also seeks to obtain a copy of Lease Agreement between the Management of National Port Authority (NPA) and Fouani Brothers for the use of NPA facility on Bushrod Island.
Steve Doito of Green Media Campaigners, said the FOI request is based on section 3.2 of the Freedom of Information Act of 2010, which states that “Every person, irrespective of their nationality or residence, may request, receive, reproduce and retain any information held by (1) a public authority or (2) [a] private entity that received public funds or engage in public functions or provision of public service: provided that in respect of private entities, the information shall relate to the public funds, benefit, functions or services.”
Mentioning also that disclosure of the documents requested is in the public interest because the information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding.
Doito said series of attempts were made through the office of the Communication Department at the National Port Authority, seeking access to public information but all attempts failed to materialized, mentioning impediments and the lack of will, among other things.
He lamented that transparent and accountable governance is being undermined in Liberia because of challenges in accessing public information guaranteed under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law.
“I understand if I seek a copy of this record, there may be a copying fee. Please inform me of that cost prior to making the copy,” the FOI Request which was filed on October 17, 2022 said.
Liberia’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was signed into law on September 16, 2010. It grants everyone the right to access public records and information. The law fulfills provisions guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, as well as the Liberian constitution, to have access to public information.