Liberia: President Sirleaf to Open Media Reform Conference

Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will on May 10, 2016 deliver the opening address at a two-day Media Law Reform conference in Monrovia, Liberia.

The conference, which is under the theme “Liberian Media & the Law” 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 conference comes at a time when the Liberian media is facing aggressive and unprecedented use of anti-speech legislations by public officials and citizens. Charges such as sedition, criminal libel against the President and criminal malevolence are frequently used.

Participants at the conference will discuss ways to strengthen self-regulation in the Liberia media as a means of promoting professional standards and media accountability. Lawyers, members of civil society and media practitioners are expected to make presentations at the conference.

The President of the Press Union of Liberia, Abdullai Kamara, in a statement said he hopes “the conference will develop a road map 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 (United Nations Mission in Liberia) Radio, the status of the Liberia Broadcasting System vis-à-vis Public Service Broadcasting; repeal of criminal defamation/libel laws and the establishment of an effective self-regulatory body.”

“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,” he added.

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

Source: Press Union of Liberia.

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