Liberian House Committee Begins Work on FOIA

16 July 2010

A Liberian House Committee has started consideration of a Freedom of Information Act, according to a report by Stephen Binda in the Daily Observer.

 The committee held a hearing May 19 at which passage of a law was urged by the National Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Liberia, Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), the newly formed Law Reform Commission and the Press Union of Liberia, and others.

 The head of the civil society group, Landcedell Matthews, “stressed that the passage of the Act will strengthen and promote responsible and accountable governance,” according to the Daily Observer account, and “described the Act as a tool in fighting corruption and other forms of public wrongdoing.” He said such a law would also stimulate a sense of trust amongst the Liberian people about their government and public authorities.

“ `Liberia must deepen and widen ordinary people’s participation in governing themselves. People’s participation requires knowledge of discourse and knowledge of debate requires information,’ Mr. Matthews stated,”  the newspaper said.

The head of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, Thomas Doe-Nah, termed the act vital to the growth and development of Liberia.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during her address to the National Legislature in January 2008 supported an access to information law

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