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23rd July 2018

Liberian President Wants Press Freedom Legislated in Memory of Late Journalist!

By a press release (18/06/18)

The President George Manneh Weah continues to make history by resubmitting a bill to make sure press freedom becomes a reality in Liberia.

 

Latest reports say the Liberian President has resubmitted a bill to the National Legislature to modify and repeal some sections of the Penal Law of Liberia in an effort to decriminalise free speech and create an unfettered media environment. (Photo: Late Liberian PUL President Kamara Abdulai Kamara).

The bill submitted May 31, 2018 seeks to amend chapter 11 of penal law of 1978, repealing sections 11.11 on criminal libel against the President and 11.12 on sedition and 11.14 on criminal malevolence.

"Honourable Speaker, Chapter 111, Article 15 of the Constitution provides for Freedom of Speech and expression and a caveat of an abuse thereof. Additionally, Liberia is a signatory to the Table Mountain Declaration which demands that African countries abolish insult and criminal defamation law," President Weah recently said.

The President also reminded the National Legislature of the legal instruments on press freedom Liberia established, such as the Freedom of Information Law (FOI) and the Independent Information Commission.

President Weah noted: "Liberia, in anticipation of fully adhering to these legal instruments enacted the Freedom of Information Law and established the Freedom of Information Commission. However, there appears to be challenges in the full implementation of these as Section 11.11: Criminal Libel against the President; Section 11.12: Sedition; and Section 11.14: Criminal Malevolence of the Penal Laws of Liberia tends to impede freedom of speech and expression and acts committed thereof are considered to be criminal."

If enacted into law, the Act will be known as the Kamara Abdullai Kamara Act of Press Freedom, in honour of deceased journalist Kamara Abdullai Kamara, former President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).

President Weah emphasised the important role Mr. Kamara played in convincing national government to repeal provisions on the Penal Law of Liberia, which impede freedom of speech and independence of the press in Liberia but did not succeed.

"Therefore, the purpose of this Act is to repeal sections of the Penal Laws that have a tendency of making Liberia non-compliant," President George Weah underscored. (Photo: President George Weah and his Vice Howard Taylor. Press Freedom is popular move by the Liberian government).
 

The Liberian leader described the action as a proof of his government’s commitment to uphold the constitution, Table Mountain Declaration and other International Treaties relating to the press and other media related activities.
 

Untimely Death of the Former President of the Press Union of Liberia, Mr. Kamara A. Kamara


Liberia still remembers the untimely death of the former President of the Press Union of Liberia, Mr. Kamara A. Kamara, who was affectionately known among his media colleagues as KAK.

The Medical Doctor, who was on call when KAK was rushed to the Phebe Hospital by 1 a. m. Tuesday, April 17, 2018 that he was brought in 'unconscious.'

Dr. Arthur Jones Wuoh, a General Practitioner, assigned at that hospital in Suacoco, Bong County, said they had done all to revive him: "Sadly, he didn’t come to. Our sympathy to the bereaved family and the Liberian Media Community."

Dr. Wuoh also told the press that when KAK was rushed in, he (Wuoh) was presented with his history that he was found in his hotel room unconscious having seizures and oozing blood and foam from his mouth.

"When we checked his level of consciousness on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), we found that his was at the lowest: 3/15. Every normal person is 15/15," he explained. He also disclosed that they had noticed that he had suffered from injury on the brain. According to him, reviving any patient at that lowest level is not impossible in science but just very hard.

Another Medical Doctor also assigned at Phebe, Dr. Joseph Vanyanbah, too, said that he had been informed that KAK had developed Cardiovascular or Cerebrovascular Accident (CD/VA), meaning he came down with stroke.

KAK's death came about just a day following the gruesome murder of Journalist Tryon Browne of Super FM. The Liberian Media landscape was dealt a serious blow. Courtesy: Front Page Africa newspaper in Liberia.

TRIBUTE: ALPHA SHAW


1958 -1980

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