#Article (Archive)

The Liberian example should be commended!

Oct 8, 2010, 12:46 PM

The government of Liberia under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf should be commended for signing the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill into law with effect from 4 October 2010.

It would be recalled that even before its approval by both the legislature and the chambers of Liberia, President Sirleaf had always expressed her readiness to sign the bill into law. Liberia should be commended for being the first West African country to enact the Freedom of Information Act.

Liberian lawmakers should also be commended for their steadfastness and bold step.

Another country which is working towards passing an FOI law is Ghana. There are indications that the possibility of Ghana passing the bill is high.

It is high time that other countries emulate this giant step by the Liberian government.

The Freedom of Information law will help the government greatly to work closely with the media as partners in development, and it will also help government and media to better understand each other in their drive to keep their citizens well-informed.

The citizens, on their part, would be free to ask for anything that concerns them from relevant government authorities.

The importance of FOI is well known and, in fact, good for both governments and populace. Such laws are needed, as they would promote openness and transparency which are critical for democracy.

We use the opportunity to appeal to other countries in Africa to also consider passing a Freedom of Information bill, since its benefits are enormous.

Civil society organizations are also challenged to work with the media in engaging governments to start working on FOI bills.

Freedom of Information law makes it easy for journalists to easily seek and access relevant information that needs to be known by citizens.

Once more, we appeal to other African government's and lawmakers to consider passing this kind of law, since it promotes democracy and also empowers the populace.