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Pres. Sirleaf addresses media reform confab today

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will today, Tuesday, address a two-day Media Law Reform Conference at the PA’s Rib House in Lakpazee, Monrovia at 9:00 AM.

The conference is organized by the Press Union of Liberia, in partnership with the British Firm, Albany Associates as part of the Liberia Media Development Program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

According to a press release, the LMD is being implemented under the leadership of Internews, with the Press Union of Liberia, Liberia Media Center, and Accountability Lab as main national partners.

The two-day exercise is intended to renew discussions on the current legal and regulatory regime governing the Liberian Press, as well as encourage amendments and repeals that will ensure that the Liberia legal, regulatory environment conforms to 21st Century realities, and those of a genuine democracy.

The Liberian Media is presently faced with aggressive and unprecedented use of anti-speech legislations by public officials and private citizens alike with charges such as sedition, criminal libel against the President and criminal malevolence being frequently used.

Participants at the conference will also discuss ways to strengthen self-regulation in the media here as a means of promoting professional standards and media accountability. Selected Liberian lawyers, members of civil society and the media practitioners are expected to make presentations at the deliberation which is being held under the theme “Liberian Media & the Law”.

The president of the Press Union of Liberia Abdullai Kamara, hopes that “the conference will develop a roadmap to renew advocacy and lobby on key instruments including: the establishment of an independent broadcast sector regulator, the sustainability of community radio, the future of UNMIL Radio, the status of the Liberia Broadcasting System in relation to Public Service Broadcasting, repeal of criminal defamation, libel laws and the establishment of an effective self-regulatory body.”

Kamara said the conference is guided by the broad partnership that prompted the successes of the previous initiative, to support a future for media freedom and accountability in Liberia.Press release

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