-As Senate Concurs With Representatives In Decriminalizing Free Speech
By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
At long last, the Plenary of the Liberia Senate has concurred with the House of Representatives in passing the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom which political pundits say will result into the demolition of ‘archaic law.’
The Plenary which is the highest decision-making body of that august body, the Liberian Senate reached the decision Thursday, February 7, 2019 during its regular session on Capitol Hill.
The move by the Senate came as a result of a report filed by its committee on Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism headed by Grand Bassa County Senator, Jonathan Kaipay which was read in open Senate Plenary.
According to the committee’s report, the Plenary of the Liberian Senate should and must consider the passage of the amended act because according to them the Act is in the best interest of the country.
“In light of this and in accordance with its statutory responsibility, coupled with the mandate from the Plenary of the Liberian Senate, the Committee on Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism, therefore recommends that members of Senate consider the passage of the title legislation, “An Act To Amend the Liberian Codes revised, Penal Law of 178 of the Republic of Liberia, Chapter 11, By Repealing Section 11.11, 11.12 and 11.14 to be known as the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom,” the committee’s report stated.
The passage of this Act followed a series of public hearings by both the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate including the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), the West African Journalist Association, other stakeholders within the Liberian media and the general public.
The Act when fully passed into law and printed into handbill upon the signing by President George Weah would ensure the decriminalizing of free speech on the part of journalists and the general public at large
This Act would no longer see the issue of libel as criminal offence as it was in the past by it will not be a civil offence which would be heard in a civil law court and not a criminal court
Meanwhile, the Act is on its way to the executive mansion for President Weah to officially sign it into law and be printed into handbill which then make it law.