Senate passes Kamara Abdullah Kamara Press Freedom Act
The Liberian Senate has concurred with the House of Representatives for the passage of the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom.
During the 8th sitting of the 2nd session on Thursday, the Senate’s agreement with the House came about when the Senate Committee on Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism brought their report on the public hearing of the Committee room.
The Act is named after the late former Press Union of Liberia (PUL) president Mr. Kamara Abdullah Kamara.
It was submitted by President George Manneh Weah to amend the “Liberian Codes Revised, Penal Law of 1978 of the Republic of Liberia, Chapter 11, by repealing Sections 11. 11, 11.12 and 11.14, to be known as the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom.”Before the passage of the Bill into law, the committee conducted public hearings to ascertain the importance attached to it.
The hearing was attended by PUL, West African Journalist Association, InterNews, and Center for Media Studies and Peace Building.
The Panelists presentation convinced members of the Committee on Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism for the passage of the Bill.
During the hearing, PUL president Mr. Charles B. Cuffey, Jr., and the other Panelists argued strongly that the press freedom has been the “heart” of the media struggle in Liberia.
The Panelists said anti media laws are used against the Liberian media, naming criminal libel against the President, sedition and criminal malevolence as examples.
The PUL president and his colleagues argued that those laws prohibit the media from providing balanced and timely stories, noting that the existing law limits the media from adequately reaching out to the general public.
The panelists said repealing those provisions will allow citizens to cultivate a sense of ownership and challenge the laws they [do not] believe in.
The Senate committee voted in concurrence with the House following a motion by the Chair on Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism, Grand Bassa County Sen. Jonathan Kaipay.The Bill will be sent to the President for his approval after which it will become a law.
By Ethel A. Tweh –Edited by Winston W. Parley