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House of Representatives passes Freedom of Information Law

(CEMESP/IFEX) - The House of Representatives of Liberia has passed into law the Liberia Freedom of Information Law.

The House, during its regular plenary session held on July 22nd, 2010, unanimously voted to pass the FOI law which has been in the Legislative room for over two years.

The passage of the law by members of the House of Representatives was preceded by intense lobbying and advocacy by members of the Liberia Freedom of Expression Coalition, The Liberia Media Law and Policy Reform Working Group and the Liberia Civil Society Consortium on Freedom of Information.

According to the Chairman of the Liberia Freedom of Expression coalition and the consortium, Malcolm Joseph, the passage of the FOI law is a step aimed at making information accessible to all Liberians.

Mr. Joseph also disclosed that the Law has been transmitted to the Liberian Senate for concurrence.

He expressed thanks and appreciation to the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, the Carter Center, UNESCO, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), the International Media Support and the Partnership for Media and Conflict Prevention in West Africa for the level of support rendered the process.

Mr Joseph said Liberians will continue to count on further support to ensure that the Senate concurs with the House on the passage as well as the implementation of the law.

The Freedom of Information Law was among three draft laws submitted to the House of Representatives on April 18th 2008, by the Liberia Media Law and Policy Reform Working Group.

The other two draft laws are a public service Broadcaster Law and a law to establish an Independent Broadcast Regulator for Liberia.

The Independent Broadcast Regulator law has since 2009 been passed by the House of Representatives and is presently before the Liberian Senate for concurrence, while the Public Service Broadcaster act is still in a Committee room in the House of Representatives.

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