The president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Kamara Abdullai Kamara, has described President Sirleaf’s pledge to decriminalize the country’s media laws as mere repeated statement that lacks real intention.
Speaking Tuesday in an exclusive interview with The NewDawn at the Union’s headquarters on Clay Street in Monrovia, Kamara noted that the President had made similar pledge in previous Annual Message.
The Press Union of Liberia has been working with Government here to derive a draft working document that will lead to decimalization of Liberians media laws in compliance with the Table Mountain Declaration, which the Liberian leader has signed.
“The announcement by the President yesterday was not the first; it was a similar announcement made in 2014 in her Annual Message and similar had been made far back in 2012 when the President signed Table Mountain Declaration,” the PUL president narrated.
Delivering her Annual Message on the state of the Republic before the Liberian Legislature Monday, President Sirleaf announced plan to submit series of bills to the Legislature that will decriminalize all media related laws and degrees that currently affect the work of journalists here.
She said that repealing those bad laws and degrees is intended to create an enabling space for Liberian journalists to do their work freely and accordingly.
“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,” the Liberian leader emphasized.
She said the expected bills that are to be submitted shortly are in compliance with the Table Mountain Declaration signed in 2012, which calls for journalists and media practitioners to practice freely without hindrance from the national government or individuals in high places.
President Sirleaf however called on the media remain professional and nationalistic in the discharge its duties, saying, “While we are to submit these bills for the possible enactment by the honorable legislature, we also expect journalists and media owners to be professional and responsible.”
But Kamara disagreed with the Liberian leader and noted that the Government cannot claimed to be media friendly when draconian laws on the book that made Liberia anti-friendly are still there.
The PUL president said the Sirleaf administration ended the year with the shutting down of a newspaper (The Chronicle) that was not closed on court order, but yet continue to boost of free press in the county.
By Ben P. Wesee