LIBERIAN GOVERNMENT REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

The government of the Republic of Liberia has reiterated its commitment to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression of the media and people of Liberia at a press briefing on April 15, 2015.

The Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Lewis Brown, made this known at the daily press briefing of the Ministry. He said that Liberians have struggled for freedom and a favourable environment for people to express themselves freely and the government will continue to respect and fight to protect this right. He was however quick to add that the freedom must be exercised with responsibility.

“We own this country together; none of us will win if we play politics to pull it down, we all fought for this freedom that we are enjoying today and we must together take steps to protect it,” Mr Brown said.

He therefore, urged the media to desist from inaccurate publications that have the potential to undermine the reputation of Liberia as a country.

Also at the press briefing, the Media Foundation for West Africa based in Accra and its partner in Liberia, Centre for Media Studies and Peace-building (CEMESP), presented copies of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms to the Ministry.

In her presentation, a Programme Officer of the MFWA, Dora B. Mawutor, commended Her Excellency, President Johnson Sirleaf, for declaring her support for freedom of expression (FoE). Ms Mawutor also thanked MICAT for reaffirming the government’s commitment to protect and respect FoE and urged the government to expand the frontiers of FoE to embrace online freedoms so that the human rights enjoyed offline can also be enjoyed online.

Ms Mawutor explained that the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms is a Pan-African initiative led be several Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on FoE across Africa to promote human rights online and to help shape policy formulation and implementation on internet and ICT-related issues. She requested the Ministry and the government of Liberia to consider it for endorsement and adopt it as a guide for internet-related policies in Liberia.

The Minister commended the MFWA, its partner, CEMESP and the other CSOs for the work done on the Declaration. He indicated that MICAT is ready to work with the MFWA to expand the frontiers of FoE both offline and online.

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